A1 Journal article (refereed), original research

Environmental impacts of wooden, plastic, and wood-polymer composite pallet: a life cycle assessment approach

Open Access hybrid publication

Publication Details
Authors: Khan Md.Musharof Hussain, Deviatkin Ivan, Havukainen Jouni, Horttanainen Mika
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
Publication year: 2021
Language: English
Related journal or series: International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
ISSN: 0948-3349
eISSN: 1614-7502
JUFO level of this publication: 2
Open Access: Open Access hybrid publication
Location of the parallel saved publication: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe2021080341997


Purpose Waste recycling is one of the essential tools for the European Union’s transition towards a circular economy. One of the possibilities for recycling wood and plastic waste is to utilise it to produce composite product. This study analyses the environmental impacts of producing composite pallets made of wood and plastic waste from construction and demolition activities in Finland. It also compares these impacts with conventional wooden and plastic pallets made of virgin materials.
Methods Two different life cycle assessment methods were used: attributional life cycle assessment and consequential life cycle assessment. In both of the life cycle assessment studies, 1000 trips were considered as the functional unit. Furthermore, end-of-life allocation formula such as 0:100 with a credit system had been used in this study. This study also used sensitivity analysis and normalisation calculation to determine the best performing pallet.
Result and discussion In the attributional cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment, wood-polymer composite pallets had the lowest environmental impact in abiotic depletion potential (fossil), acidification potential, eutrophication potential, global warming potential (including biogenic carbon), global warming potential (including biogenic carbon) with indirect land-use change, and ozone depletion potential. In contrast, wooden pallets showed the lowest impact on global warming potential (excluding biogenic carbon). In the consequential life cycle assessment, wood-polymer composite pallets showed the best environmental impact in all impact categories. In both attributional and consequential life cycle assessments, plastic pallet had the maximum impact. The sensitivity analysis and normalisation calculation showed that wood-polymer composite pallets can be a better choice over plastic and wooden pallet.
Conclusions The overall results of the pallets depends on the methodological approach of the LCA. However, it can be concluded that the wood-polymer composite pallet can be a better choice over the plastic pallet and, in most cases, over the wooden pallet. This study will be of use to the pallet industry and relevant stakeholders.

LUT Focus Areas

Last updated on 2021-06-09 at 11:00