PackageSmart Impact Assessment Method
The PackageSmart impact assessment method includes five categories taken from ReCiPe (Goedkoop, 2009), the latest internationally accepted method, plus a sixth category - cumulative energy demand (Frishknecht, 2003). This combined impact assessment gives a broad view of the total environmental impacts of a package using the latest scientific modeling.
In this category, the damage analysis links six impact categories (Climate change, Human toxicity, Photochemical oxidant formation, Particulate matter formation, Ionizing radiation and Ozone depletion) to the DALYs (Disability Adjusted Life Years, the sum of years of potential life lost due to premature mortality and the years of productive life lost due to disability).
The impact categories that apply to ecosystem quality are: climate change, terrestrial acidification, freshwater eutrophication, ecotoxicity, agricultural land occupation, urban land occupation, Natural land transformation. The damage to ecosystems is measured by considering the species that disappear in a given time period.
The two impact categories that apply to resources are Fossil depletion and Metal depletion. The quantification of the damage is based on the marginal increase of cost due to extraction of resources, measured as dollars per kilogram ($/kg, economic).
Water depletion category quantifies the total water consumed by a process/ product. It is measured as the volume of water consumed (m3).
There are several gaseous emissions that cause global warming, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides and fluorinated gases. This category combines the effect of differing times greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere and their relative effectiveness in absorbing outgoing infrared radiation. The concentration of greenhouse gases is measured as kg equivalents of CO2, i.e. the relative global warming potential of a gas as compared to CO2. The IPCC model with a 100-year time horizon is used for characterization. The uptake of carbon dioxide from the air (sequestration of CO2 by plants) and the subsequent emission of biogenic carbon dioxide (from the burning of biomass) are not included. The unit of measure for this category is kg CO2 equivalents.
Cumulative Energy Demand
Cumulative energy demand measures the cumulative energy resources required (total MJs) throughout the life cycle of a package, including energy from: non-renewable fossil, non-renewable nuclear, non-renewable biomass, renewable biomass, renewable wind, solar, geothermal and renewable water.
Normalization is often carried out in LCA studies to help interpret the results in relation to a reference system. The normalization factors available with the impact assessment methods are typically for a certain geographical region. The PackageSmart method contains normalization factors that express per capita world impacts for the year 2000.
- Goedkoop M., Heijungs R., Huijbregts M., Schryver A.D., Struijs J., Van Zelm R. (2009). ReCiPe, First edition. Pre Consultants, Amersfoort, Netherlands, CML, University of Leiden, Netherlands, RUN Radbound University Nijmegen Netherlands, RIVM, Bilthoven, Netherlands.
- Frischknecht R., Jungbluth N., et.al. (2003). Implementation of Life Cycle Impact Assessment Methods. Final report ecoinvent 2000, Swiss Centre for LCI. Dübendorf, CH, www.ecoinvent.org