Life cycle assessment of sanitaryware production: A case study in Italy


Autores: Silvestri, L. et Al

Sanitaryware products are one of the most diffused ceramic materials. In the present study, an environmental assessment of sanitaryware production was carried out. The Life Cycle Assessment was performed with a cradle-to-gate approach, considering the product life cycle from resource extraction to the factory gate of an Italian company and it aims to evaluate the environmental weight of sanitaryware production, identifying hotspots and comparing different energetic scenarios. The study was performed according to the current international standards and choosing, as the functional unit, 1000 kg of heterogeneous sanitaryware products. The system boundary includes raw materials extraction, transportation of raw materials and all the manufacturing activities within the factory, including electric and thermal energy supply. The results show how the study factory have implemented a mature green-based manufacturing and represents a reference point to estimate how the environmental impact can be improved by energy saving technologies and recycling water. Such technologies were compared to conventional ones and with results of other recent literature research. In addition, a potential improvement, based on cogeneration, was evaluated to consider if the economic improvement goes together with a minor environmental impact. Results show how economic benefit due to the implementation of cogeneration agrees with environmental impact, presenting only an increase in Global Warming Potential and Abiotic Depletion of fossil fuels. This is the inspiration for a further research where Life Cycle Assessment can be coupled to a Life Cycle Cost.

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