Management and Production Engineering Review

Volume 6 • Number 3 • September 2015 • pp. 47–54
DOI: 10.1515/mper-2015-0025

LIFE CYCLE ANALYSIS OF TISSUE PAPER MANUFACTURING
FROM VIRGIN PULP OR RECYCLED WASTE PAPER
Aneta Masternak-Janus, Magdalena Rybaczewska-Błażejowska
Kielce University of Technology, Department of Production Engineering, Poland

Corresponding author:
Magdalena Rybaczewska-Błażejowska
Kielce University of Technology
Department of Production Engineering
Al. Tysiąclecia Państwa Polskiego 7, 25-314 Kielce, Poland
phone: (+48) 41 342-42-52
e-mail: m.blazejowska@wp.pl

Received: 22 April 2015 Abstract
Accepted: 7 July 2015 The aim of this work is to compare the environmental impacts of two production processes
of tissue paper using virgin pulp (virgin fiber) or waste paper pulp (recycled fiber). This
comparison is based on the materials and energy used as well as emissions and waste resulting
from the production of tissue paper. Life cycle assessment (LCA), ReCiPe method, was
chosen as the analysis tool. The results of the research proved that electricity has the most
considerable participation in the overall environmental impacts in both production processes,
followed by either virgin pulp or heat. Consequently, these two production processes are the
greatest contributors to the following midpoint environmental impact categories: human
toxicity, climate change, human health and ecosystems, and fossil depletion. The analysis
based on endpoint impact categories proved that the production process based on waste
paper is more environmentally friendly than the one based on virgin pulp in all impact
categories: human health, ecosystems, resources. This is largely because of its lower material
and energy requirements in the entire life cycle. Due to the fact that the tissue paper is
the final use of fiber, using recycled waste paper is strongly recommended. The obtained
research results are a valuable source of management information for the decision makers
at both company and national levels required to improve the environmental performance of
tissue paper production.
Keywords
life cycle assessment (LCA), tissue paper, recycled waste paper, virgin pulp.

Introduction Fibrous material mix is used for the production
of tissue paper in Poland, estimated at 60/40 of re-
Poland produces approximately 425 000 of tissue cycled waste paper to market virgin pulp [1]. This
paper annually accounting for 13% of total paper production of tissue paper, both of virgin pulp (vir-
and board production. That makes Poland the 15th gin fiber) and waste paper pulp (recycled fiber) is
largest tissue paper manufacturer in the world and associated with significant environmental impacts re-
6th largest in the European Union, just after Italy, sulting from the consumption of raw materials and
Germany, France, UK and Spain [1]. The production energy, as well as emissions to air, water and soil.
of tissue paper covers toilet paper, kitchen tow- Considering that the processes of producing paper
els, tablecloths, napkins and wipes, but toilet paper from both types of masses are analogous to one an-
dominates the market. There are nearly 300 000 of other, it is believed that their burdens on the en-
toilet paper produce in Poland yearly, 2/3 of which vironment are almost the same [3]. However, the
is domestically consumed [2]. use of waste paper as the main raw material does

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Fig. In doing so. Description of the production atory regulations in the area of environmental pro- processes refers to the report of “The Best Available tection. 1). Life cy- cle assessment (LCA). ReCiPe method). The first section outlines the environmental system analysis method employed in the research. based the most commonly used technique of life cycle upon the same methodology (LCA) and life cycle management (LCM) for evaluating the environmen. ment of green economy [2]. processes ought to be included in the LCA study [12]. Only after thorough assess- ment of the ecological balance of both manufacturing Goal and scope of the analysis processes. 1. The second section presents and discusses the results of LCA for the produc. it proves that LCA is a valuable ly. helping to conserve natural re- sources. alternative for the modeling of current and future ommendations on the use of common methods to tissue paper production process that can be incor- measure and communicate the life cycle environ. methodology and. First and foremost. the functional unit of the system is defined as 1 ton of produced tis- Methodology sue paper. es: goal and scope definition. The methods are based on LCA (EMAS) and eco-labeling. cover multi criteria environ- The scope of the study directly stems from the mental evaluation of goods and services. pared [11]. mul- tiplying the potential profits of entrepreneurs [4]. this enables the compar- The life cycle assessment (LCA) framework is ison of the above two production processes.Management and Production Engineering Review not require an additional investment of time. en- ergy and money. waste). the im- mental performance of products and organizations plementation of eco-management and audit scheme (2013/179/UE). Consequently. green tenders. tal performance of products and services. it is possible to answer the question environmental impacts that arise from manufactur- of which of these processes is more environmentally ing of tissue paper using virgin pulp or waste pa- friendly. the research bring several out- comes. Recent. This paper is divided into two main sections. The main aim of this research is to determine the sludge. per pulp. A special attention was paid to the func- tional equivalency of the products since only then The study is fully in respect to international stan. assessment of the poten. The production of recycled waste paper reduces the use of forest timber. energy efficiency. is worldwide applied [5–8]. The system boundaries determine which unit tial impacts associated with these inputs and out. life cycle inventory). terial extraction through the manufacturing and use 48 Volume 6 • Number 3 • September 2015 Unauthenticated Download Date | 5/31/17 4:38 AM . provides a reference to which the inputs and outputs can be related [10]. Guidelines for the Pulp and Pa- ness and other actions contributing to the develop- per Industry” [3]. Almost each type of used paper can be put into production again. the appli- cation of LCA methodology in the Pulp and Paper Functional unit Industry may help to improve the environmental per- formance of this sector and its products and. water) and output factors (air emissions. As a consequence. materials. life cycle impact assessment) and in. thus. Generally. puts (LCIA. and it may also bring econom- ic and environmental benefits. The functional unit is a key element of LCA and fore. competitive- Techniques (BAT). In this LCA study. Model of life cycle assessment (LCA) [9]. LCA is a “cradle-to-grave” approach and terpretation of the impact assessment results (see covers the whole product life cycle from the raw ma- Fig. taking into account input factors (energy. their life cycles (production processes) can be com- dards ISO 14040 and 14044 and consists of four phas. It is as- goal and thus covers two alternative tissue paper sumed that LCA methods become a part of oblig- production processes. there. porated into the calculation of eco-efficiency. tion processes of tissue paper using virgin paper or waste paper pulp. the European Commission has issued the rec. impact assessment method (LCIA. inventory of all in- System boundaries and unit processes puts and outputs related to the production processes (LCI.

the pulp and chemicals making preparation and the paper making process in the processes. Process flows of tissue paper production from recycled waste paper. Finally. fiber refining. the system boundaries have been restricted impurities. and the system boundaries that cover the tissue The life cycle of tissue paper manufactured paper production are illustrated in Fig. paper machine. Management and Production Engineering Review stage to disposal. the removal of study. Process flows of tissue paper production from virgin pulp. 2. and. 3. The tis- from virgin pulp includes the following processes: sue paper production has two basic units: the stock the wood logging. The process to the selected stages of a product’s or process’s life flows of tissue paper manufactured from virgin pulp cycle [13. the pulp is fed to from the point that the main raw material has been a paper machine where it is formed and most its delivered to the mills manufacturing papers to the properties are determined. Fig. finally. the tissue paper production. it can be equally applied point where the final products are made. 14]. 2. However. The stock preparation consists of the use and disposal of tissue paper. In the presented the following stages: fiber slushing. Fig. Volume 6 • Number 3 • September 2015 49 Unauthenticated Download Date | 5/31/17 4:38 AM .

fossil depletion) of impurities (screening. despite the production phase. cleaning) and bleaching. the complete life cycle ry source of data was the report on “The Best Avail- covers the following processes: the collection and able Techniques (BAT). cators at two levels: eighteen midpoint indicators (in- duction. 19]. water emissions and solid waste (as outputs) (see Fig. process. 4). The general scheme of inventory analysis of tissue usage of electricity generates as much as 56. data collection is carried out in order to draw up a comprehensive balance of the energy. and three endpoint indicators (Resources. fresh preparation cover: waste paper storage. Fi. photochemical oxidant forma- the dry recovered waste paper. sents the total environmental load of the each process en product or process system throughout its life according to the ReCiPe Endpoint score. All the data refer to the defined fun- Fig. mills producing tissue paper fulfill the environmental tion processes. terrestrial acidification. the use of tissue paper and. 16]. The indicator scores are serve as a buffer between the stock preparation and a measure of the environmental load of a product or paper machine [3]. 4]. In this study. its disposal. starch and dyes (as inputs).Management and Production Engineering Review Regarding the tissue paper manufactured from ctional unit that is 1 ton of tissue paper. requirements of BAT [3. The process tree for the tissue paper production from recycled waste paper. cycle [17]. the tissue paper pro. The Fig. electricity. The main stages of the recycled waste paper cluding climate change. A summary inventory of environmental flows of the system of tissue paper production covers: virgin pulp or waste paper pulp. have minor environmental impacts on the life cycle of tis. This paper production from recycled waste paper and the LCIA method comprises harmonized category indi- system boundaries that cover the tissue paper pro. and air emis- from virgin pulp. The thickness of the line repre- and quantification of inputs and outputs for a giv.5% of paper mill. water. Due to the fact that a numerous of for- mer studies proved that all the above enumerated Results and discussion unit processes. Figure 3 presents the process flows of tissue ware of SimaPro8 and the ReCiPe method. electricity has the most considerable participa- tion in the overall environmental impacts. Ecosys- nally. The LCA analysis of the two systems of tis- sue paper. 5 and 6). The prima- the recycled waste paper. Human Health) [20]. followed by virgin pulp. Guidelines for the Pulp and pre-treatment of waste paper. sue paper manufacturing was done using the soft- 15. In total they cover nearly 80% of all the negative impacts on the environment that occur during the process of tissue paper production. sions. particulate matter formation. 6. the impact on the environment. Consequently. 5. they were excluded from the analysis [10. which results from 50 Volume 6 • Number 3 • September 2015 Unauthenticated Download Date | 5/31/17 4:38 AM . materials and chemicals taken from the environment that enter the system and that leave the system as emissions to the environment [18. In the case of the tissue paper made of virgin pulp. mechanical removal tion. Paper Industry” since the majority of Polish paper duction and the treatment of waste from the produc. the inventory (LCI) results of the Inventory analysis product systems are presented as the process trees Life cycle inventory (LCI) covers the collection (see Figs. The process tree for the tissue paper production resin. finally. repulping of water eutrophication. the pulp is pumped to the storage chests that tems. 4. Fig. heat.

08% of environmen- lution of the natural environment.3% and thus has the making frequent changes of grade and color of tis. from waste paper. while virgin pulp dominates oth- and therefore. Considering the environmental impact of individual dustry and negative consequences arising from the input factors. erable emission of gas pollution and constant side Corresponding the data inventory. gy in the individual impact categories is considered Degradation of the natural environment in the tis. four inputs combustion products. emission of pollution in. Characterization of the tissue paper production from virgin pulp. Management and Production Engineering Review the energy consumption characteristic of paper in. 8). ing the manufacturing process of the tissue paper gy consuming. freshwater and the solid fossil fuels – hard coal and brown coal. since during that process it is neces. They constitute 92. Furthermore. the share of electricity to the wastewater and the creation of the solid waste. These are electricity. ers. Fig. The generation inates some impact categories. for instance human of electricity in Poland is almost entirely based on toxicity. natural land transformation. it is highly burdensome for the en. freshwater eutrophication. vironment. Volume 6 • Number 3 • September 2015 51 Unauthenticated Download Date | 5/31/17 4:38 AM . the tal impacts of all materials and substances used dur- Through-Air Drying process (TAD) is highly ener. including wood. urban land occupation and energy. the electricity has the largest share. electrici- sary to warm the huge amounts of air. 7). (see Fig. despite sue paper production process also results from the ozone depletion. In particular. resin and starch production process. emissions to the air. sue paper in the paper machine slightly decrease the Similar trend occurs when the contribution of ener- efficiency of raw materials’ usage. energy included. causing the production of mostly consid. largest contribution in the environmental impacts. ty consumption accounts for 73. heat. 7. the usage of chemicals and and marine ecotoxicity. mostly urban and agricultural land occupation. terrestrial ecotoxicity (see Fig. freshwater usage. freshwater eutrophication. exceeds 90%. marine ecotoxicity. 6). in all categories. Significant amounts of energy were identified that have the greatest environmental absorbed in order to maintain the motion of engines load during the tissue paper production from waste in machines and devices used in the tissue paper paper. it is evident that the electricity dom- processes of electricity production. Consequently. usage of virgin pulp whose production involves such In the case of the following impact categories: hu- significant environmental aspects as: raw materials’ man toxicity. (see Fig. Out of these four inputs. influence degradation and pol.

which constitute 49. Characterization of the tissue paper production from recycled waste paper. 9). the tissue paper mills Tissue Tissue either buy electricity from the public grid and gen. need for electricity and steam.4% 16. To meet the Environmental impact assessment of tissue paper production in the midpoint impact categories. due to its high total 15. respectively (Table 1).65%.85% and 12.35% on average.3% Human Health yield.6% and 12.Management and Production Engineering Review Fig. a consid. At the same time. Human toxicity 47.5%).2% 5. waste paper in all endpoint impact categories: hu- sions (CO2 . The production of tissue paper from recycled of energy by burning fossil fuels. and fossil deple. agricultural land occupation impact category (6. In the case of the waste paper requires large quantities of electricity tissue paper made of virgin pulp. BOD). Others 6. 8. harvesting forest for driving the machinery (approximately one third lands to procure the wood for pulping makes an ad- is consumed during thickening and dispersion) and ditional environmental burden that contribute to the wastewater treatment. erable amount of steam is used for heating of wa- ter.3% 13% contributors to the following midpoint environmen. climate change human health and ecosystems. sewage sludge) and air emis. ecosystems and resources (see Fig. more environmentally intensive than from recycle solid waste (discards. The second solution is far pulp paper Climate change more environmentally friendly.3% tal impact categories: human toxicity. The achieved results confirmed that paper mills are the Tissue paper manufacturing from virgin pulp is source of considerable water emissions (COD. up to 80%.2% 12. paper paper Impact categories erate heat internally or apply co-generated heat and from virgin from waste power installations (CHP). Agricultural land occupation 6.85%. air and chemicals to the demanded process Table 1 temperature and for drying the paper. NOX ) associated with the production man health.5% tion. 52 Volume 6 • Number 3 • September 2015 Unauthenticated Download Date | 5/31/17 4:38 AM . 15.4% 52.3% Both the tissue paper production from virgin Climate change pulp and from recycled waste paper are the greatest Ecosystems 12. pulp.5% 0. Fossil depletion 12.

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