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Product Life Cycle Essay

2855 words - 12 pages

2. Life Cycle Inventory:
Introduction: Every new product or development made by man has an impact on environment. Growing environmental concerns has made it necessary to quantitatively study these factors. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is one such tool devised for calculating the overall environmental impact of a product or service. It includes defining aim and scope of assessment, inventory analysis, impact assessment and deriving conclusions. Life cycle inventory (LCI) is a part of LCA and involves direct collection of input output data from the system. Quantities like material/resource consumed, energy utilised fall under inputs while energy and by-products released are considered outputs. Life cycle impact analysis (LCIA) consists of derived conclusions from study of life cycle inventory. E.g. LCI for laptop would involve resources consumed and by products emitted during recycling. LCIA would define the effect on global warming due to these by products.
Scope of study: A company catering department has decided to replace expanded polystyrene (EPS) cups with paper cups. This report compares both the materials in terms of their effect on environment. As paper by itself cannot be used to hold hot drinks, it is considered that paper cups are made of either PE coated or wax coated paper. The cups are compared without lid, assuming the lid if used, be made of polystyrene. Performing actual survey or experimentation work was not possible, the study was conducted using published reports/thesis as reference.
Life cycle inventory:
Weight per cup: comparing values below, the weight of paper cups is twice the weight of PS cups for the same volume.
16-oz cups used for hot beverages Weight (grams)
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam 4.70
PE-coated bleached paperboard 13.3
Corrugated unbleached paperboard cup sleeves 5.76
32-oz cups used for cold beverages
EPS foam 8.83
PE-coated bleached paperboard 21.9
Wax-coated bleached paperboard 31.3
Fig. 1. Foodservice Product Weight Data ( (FRANKLIN ASSOCIATES, LTD., March 2006)

Energy consumed for 10,000 cups.
Energy Category (Million Btu) Polystyrene PE coated paper Sleeve Paper cup + sleeve Wax coated paper
16 oz. hot cup 32 oz. cold cup 16 oz. hot cup 32 oz. cold cup 16 oz. hot cup 16 oz. hot cup 32 oz. cold cup
Process 3.85 (59 %) 6.92 (58%) 6.91 (87%) 10.9 (89%) 1.62 (93%) 8.53 (88%) 19.7 (89%)
Transport 0.089 (1%) 0.17 (1%) 0.23 (3%) 0.39 (3%) 0.13 (7%) 0.36 (4%) 0.70 (3%)
Energy of material resource 2.61 (40%) 4.83 (41%) 0.75 (10%) 1.02 (8%) 0.0003 (0%) 0.75 (8%) 1.83 (8%)
Energy Credit from 20% WTE 0.37 0.69 0.50 0.82 0.20 0.70 1.18
Total 6.18 11.2 7.39 11.5 1.55 8.94 21.0
Energy Source (Million Btu)
Natural gas 2.95 (45%) 5.41 (45%) 1.98 (25%) 2.94 (24%) 0.25 (14%) 2.23 (23%) 3.52 (16%)
Petroleum 2.28 (35%) 4.21 (35%) 0.55 (7%) 0.85 (7%) 0.17 (10%) 0.72 (8%) 2.98 (13%)
Coal 0.89 (14%) 1.54 (13%) 1.29 (16%) 1.87 (15%) 0.51 (29%) 1.80 (19%) 3.37 (15%)
Hydropower 0.054...

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