- freely available
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1724; doi:10.3390/su9101724
2. Eco-Design of a Syrup Product Container
2.1. Specify Product Functions
2.2. Environmental Assessment
2.2.1. Goal and Scope Definition
2.2.2. Life Cycle Inventory Analysis
- According to the GaBi® 6.0. Pro. software database , the production of 1 kg of glass containers involves 0.44 kg of recycled glass. The process also takes into account the recycling inputs and outputs (recovery, transport, classification, and crushing). An amber colour is obtained by the addition of iron salts that are also included as raw material.
- The weight of the patient information leaflet is very small, so it has been added to the cardboard box weight.
- Transport was carried out by diesel truck for an average distance of 100 km from the pharmaceutical industry to the selling points.
- Regarding the end of life, a closed loop allocation procedure has been applied for glass, cardboard, and aluminium recycling. In this case, the need for allocation is avoided because the use of secondary material displaces the use of virgin (primary) materials . Although cough syrup packaging is a pharmaceutical material and should be treated as a special recycling material, the syrup itself cannot be considered a toxic compound and these collecting and cleaning special processes have not been considered in this study; recycling glass, aluminium, cardboard, and PET rates are the same as standard commercial rates. Following the recycling rates for these materials that currently exist in Spain [33,34], it has been assumed that 75% of the cardboard and glass waste materials were recycled whereas the rest of these wastes were landfilled. However, LCA software only allows introducing 0.44 kg of recycled glass per kg of glass container produced. If 75% of the glass container is recycled (94.5 g in Figure 2), GaBi® Glass Container process will produce 215 g of glass container. To avoid the environmental impacts of producing 215 g of glass container instead of the 126.1 g that in truth are used, an “Environmental Loads Avoided” process is introduced. This process subtracts environmental impacts of producing 88.9 g (215–126.1) of glass container. In the case the Corrugated Board production process, these operations are avoided because LCA software allows producing cardboard with almost all the raw materials being recycled cardboard.In the case of the PET bottles, the current recycling rate in Spain for PET wastes is 57% . Since there is no PET recycling process in the GaBi® Database, inventory data from two different PET recycling processes found in the literature were used [36,37]. Data from Arena et al.  were used in the study, and sensitivity analysis was performed with Perugini et al.  data in order to analyse their influence on the final results. Tables S1 and S2 in Supplementary Material (SM) include the data that was used.
- Unlike glass containers and cardboard boxes, there is no process for aluminium parts manufacturing in GaBi® 6.0. Pro. that takes into account the percentage of recycled aluminium as input. For the aluminium, it was considered that 78% of the aluminium waste would be recycled. However, the software can simulate the procedure for obtaining an aluminium ingot from aluminium scraps. This is the process included in Figure 2 as “Recycling Aluminium”. With an input of 1.3 g of aluminium scraps (78% of the aluminium waste generated), this process generates 1.26 g of aluminium ingot. This ingot is reintroduced into the system as input in the aluminium extrusion profile manufacturing process.
- It is considered that the polypropylene dispenser was sent to the landfill.
- The environmental impacts, associated to printing ink on the cardboard box and the patient information leaflet, have not been taking into account because their importance is considered to be minor.
2.2.3. Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA)
2.2.4. Life Cycle Interpretation
2.3. Strategies of Improvement
- reduction of the number of different materials and selection of the most appropriate ones;
- reduction of environmental impact in the production phase;
- optimisation of the distribution phase;
- reduction of environmental impact on the use phase;
- extension of the product’s useful life span;
- simplification of product disassembly (design for disassembly);
- design for reuse;
- design for recycling.
2.4. Environmental Objectives, Product Specification, and Technical Solutions
3. Limitations and Applicability of This Method
Conflicts of Interest
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