Lifecycle Assessment for Recycling Processes of Monolayer and Multilayer Films: A Comparison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

External Organisational units

  • Polymer Competence Center Leoben GmbH
  • University of Augsburg

Abstract

This work covers a lifecycle assessment of monolayer and multilayer films to quantify the environmental impacts of changing the management of plastic film waste. This lifecycle assessment offers the possibility of quantifying the environmental impacts of processes along the lifecycle of monolayer and multilayer films and mapping deviating impacts due to changed process parameters. Based on the status quo, the changes in global warming potential and abiotic fossil resource depletion were calculated in different scenarios. The changes included collecting, sorting, and recycling mono- and multilayer films. The “Functional Unit” under consideration comprised 1000 kg of plastic film waste, generated as post-consumer waste in Austria and captured in the lightweight packaging collection system. The results showed the reduction of environmental impacts over product lifecycles by improving waste management and creating a circular economy. Recycling all plastic film reduced global warming potential by 90% and abiotic fossil resource consumption by 93%. The necessary optimisation steps to meet the politically required recycling rates by 2025 and 2030 could be estimated, and the caused environmental impacts are presented. This work shows the need for increased collection, recycling, and significant improvement in the sorting of films to minimise global warming potential and resource consumption.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number3620
Number of pages35
JournalPolymers
Volume14.2022
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2022