Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 444747
Title A critical comparison of ten disposable cup LCAs
Author(s) Harst, E.J.M. van der; Potting, J.
Source Environmental Impact Assessment Review 43 (2013). - ISSN 0195-9255 - p. 86 - 96.
Department(s) Environmental Systems Analysis
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2013
Keyword(s) life-cycle assessment - environmental impacts - biodegradation - uncertainty - management - emissions - system
Abstract Disposable cups can be made from conventional petro-plastics, bioplastics, or paperboard (coated with petro-plastics or bioplastics). This study compared ten life cycle assessment (LCA) studies of disposable cups with the aim to evaluate the robustness of their results. The selected studies have only one impact category in common, namely climate change with global warming potential (GWP) as its category indicator. Quantitative GWP results of the studies were closer examined. GWPs within and across each study show none of the cup materials to be consistently better than the others. Comparison of the absolute GWPs (after correction for the cup volume) also shows no consistent better or worse cup material. An evaluation of the methodological choices and the data sets used in the studies revealed their influence on the GWP. The differences in GWP can be attributed to a multitude of factors, i.e., cup material and weight, production processes, waste processes, allocation options, and data used. These factors basically represent different types of uncertainty. Sensitivity and scenario analyses provided only the influence of one factor at once. A systematic and simultaneous use of sensitivity and scenario analyses could, in a next research, result in more robust outcomes.
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