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TEA & LCA

Life Cycle Assessment

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life from cradle to grave (i.e., from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, and disposal or recycling). LCAs can help avoid a narrow outlook on environmental concerns by analyzing all the production system behind a product or a service. Governed by ISO 14040 - ISO 14044, the methodology has been widely applied in various sectors and represents the corner stone to develop selection criteria for environmental labels (i.e the European Union Ecolabel) and GPP (Green Public Procurement) as well as environmental labels and declarations (i.e. EPDs). More information are available here (SERVICE LCA): TEA aim at supporting companies in managing Life Cycle information. Hereinafter is reported the durum wheat pasta production LCA example in order to identify which are the main life cylce phases and the related information that is required to manage for an LCA. TEA platform can help to manage all of these data in several ways.

Durum wheat semolina pasta Life Cycle Analysis

Durum wheat semolina pasta is simply made by durum wheat (triticum durum) and water. Wheat grains need to be milled into semolina before being transformed into pasta. Semolina production process can be described with the following steps

Cultivation

For the LCA of durum wheat pasta the cultivation phase have to considers the specific durum wheat origin.
Cultivation environmental performances are calculated considering the use of fertilizers, use of diesel for agricultural vehicles, crop yields and water use.

Cultivation
Cultivation
Milling

Milling

The grain proceeds to a series of progressive grinding realized through rolling.
Milling process environmental performances are calculated considering energy and water consumptions.

Milling

Pasta production

Durum wheat semolina is then transformed in pasta through the extrusion and drying of a mixture of semolina and water. The mixture is conveyed through a worm screw within bells and pressed on the dies. Then wet pasta is sent to the drying process.
Pasta production environmental performances are calculated considering energy and water consumption, and waste produced.

Pasta production
Pasta production
Packaging

Packaging

After the drying process, pasta is weighed, placed in individual packaging or primary packaging (plastic film, recycled and virgin cardboard boxes) and placed in secondary packaging (cartons/exhibitors) and then in tertiary packaging (pallets, wrapped with stretch film).
Packaging environmental burdens are calculated considering the specific amount of packaging used per mass of produced pasta. For packaging are taken into both production and waste treatment impacts.

Packaging

Distribution

Every wrapped pallet is placed in the finished product storehouse and then sent to distribution.
The environmental performances are calculated considering distance and load efficiency.

Distribution
Transport distance and load efficiency
Cooking phase

Cooking phase

Pasta need to be cooked before eat it. Environmental performances relative to cooking phase depend on the consumer habits. Environmental impacts estimation is given considering twice the environmental aspects related to the cooking of 500 grams of pasta. The main hypothesis used for the calculation are the following:

• installed power for gas and electric cooker: 3 kW;
• transmission efficiency: 40%;
• cooking time: 35 minutes for cooking 500 grams of pasta (25 minutes to bring water to the boil and 10 minutes for pasta);
• necessary water: 1 litre of water each 100 grams of pasta.

Environmental burdens of the cooking phase are related to the cooker used (gas or electric) and for electricity cooking the specific country electricity mix.
The figures shown are based on gas cooking.

Cooking phase

TEA - Tool for Environmental Analysis

TEA is a flexible platform that could be customized to meet companies needs . The aim to collect and elaborate environmental information could be various. Company could be interested to analyse their own process within a production chain, to improve design of their product, to collect data at company level e.g. for CSR (Corporate Sustainability Report). TEA is based on a core structure that includes the pre-calculated DB, designed to be suitable for products, processes and services.

  • Cultivation  Cultivation
  • Milling  Milling
  • Pasta production  Pasta production
  • Packaging  Packaging
  • Distribution  Distribution
  • Cooking  Cooking

TEA is suitable for eco-design purposes, by specifying product characteristics is possible to elaborate streamlined LCA results in order to support decision making.
The information about impacts of material and process can be elaborated from external Databases, by direct data from suppliers or from internal data.
Demo packaging illustrates how to elaborate the environmental impacts of a product by input product characteristics.

  • Cultivation  Cultivation
  • Milling  Milling
  • Pasta production  Pasta production
  • Packaging  Packaging
  • Distribution  Distribution
  • Cooking  Cooking

TEA supports analysing production process for LCA/EPD purposes.
The environmental analysis could be performed from cradle to grave or cradle to cradle. In order to elaborate results, supplier can also access the software in order to deliver direct informations, nevertheless is also possible to elaborate specific databases to meet the companies needs.
Process demo illustrates the interfaces for the Life Cycle Inventory data collection and elaboration of a general production process. The demo represents a typical tool for LCA/EPD purposes

  • Cultivation  Cultivation
  • Milling  Milling
  • Pasta production  Pasta production
  • Packaging  Packaging
  • Distribution  Distribution
  • Product 1
  • Cultivation  Cultivation
  • Milling  Milling
  • Pasta production  Pasta production
  • Packaging  Packaging
  • Distribution  Distribution
  • Product 2
  • Cultivation  Cultivation
  • Milling  Milling
  • Pasta production  Pasta production
  • Packaging  Packaging
  • Distribution  Distribution
  • Product n

TEA perform data collection and elaboration for CSR purposes.
In this case the web platform is designed for collecting data from different sites, both of company and supplier. Data that is possible to collect are focused on sustainability issue, therefore environmental, social and economic information that have to be elaborated at a company level in order to support sustainability communication.
The CSR demo illustrates how to collect and elaborate data from the plant side of a Company with several production plants.