A1 Journal article (refereed), original research

Implications of Pulp and Paper Mill Primary Sludge Incineration versus Use in Composites Production: Decision-Making Based on Life Cycle Assessment

Open Access publication

Publication Details
Authors: Mustonen Kati, Deviatkin Ivan, Horttanainen Mika, Kärki Timo
Publication year: 2020
Language: English
Related Journal or Series Information: Journal of Environmental Informatics Letters
Volume number: 4
Issue number: 2
Start page: 88
End page: 92
Number of pages: 5
ISSN: 2663-6859
eISSN: 2663-6867
JUFO-Level of this publication: 1
Open Access: Open Access publication


This paper assesses the environmental consequences of diverting primary
sludge from its conventional end-of-life option-incineration-to its use
in the production of composites. The study focuses on the environmental
consequences of possible decision making rather than simply accounting
for the environmental impacts. The study identified that, despite
primary sludge incineration has a small climate change impact of 0.01 kg
CO2-eq. per functional unit of 0.44 kg of primary sludge, primary
sludge utilization in the production of composites is a more
environmentally friendly option. This is due to a high reduction
potential of climate change and abiotic resources consumption through
the substitution of virgin plastic of 2.5 kg CO2-eq. even if the
composite production has a higher impact of 1.3 kg CO2-eq. compared to
incineration of the sludge. However, sensitivity analysis showed that
the production of composites replacing plastics is only a better
alternative for as long as virgin plastic is substituted at the minimum
ratio of 1: 0.7. The low substitution rate is possible if the properties
of the produced composites or their functionality is worse than those
of virgin plastic. In such cases, incineration of primary sludge is a
better alternative.

Last updated on 2021-12-01 at 09:33