The ISO 14067 approach to open-loop recycling of paper products: Making it operational

Catharina Hohenthal (Corresponding Author), Jorge Leon, Antonio Dobon, Marjukka Kujanpää, Gert Meinl, Jori Ringman, Mercedes Hortal, Ulla Forsström

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Allocating environmental impacts within life cycle assessment (LCA) is a recognised methodological problem. Different allocation methods have been developed to fulfil the various goals of LCA studies. At present, there is neither a consensus regarding the method to be used nor a one-fits-all method for dealing with recycling in LCA. The paper discusses some of the main allocation procedures practised in the pulp and paper industry, namely those covered by ISO/TS 14067:2018, GHG Protocol/PAS 2050, and the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF). All in all, the allocation method described in the ISO/TS 14067:2018 standard was considered the most appropriate to account for open-loop recycling of paper products. However, the method neither considers the number of subsequent uses of recycled fibres, nor the recycled fibre age. Yet, both of them are considered especially important in the open-loop recycling of paper products. In order to account for these aspects, the present study proposes an advanced, step-wise approach to handle allocation in LCAs accounting for the open-loop recycling of paper products. The advanced approach is based on the fibre mass flow model used to calculate the mean fibre age and the mean number of uses of paper products within the European context. The approach was validated with the data from the pulp and paper industry, particularly examining the newsprint paper grade with different contents of recycled fibre and fibre age. The paper, however, introduces all the parameters required to perform allocation based on the proposed method for other paper grades. The categpory of global warming potential was considered in the study as an illustrative example. yet the method could be applied to other impact assessment categories. The results calculated using the proposed allocation approach were compared to those obtained with the allocation methods described in the GHG Protocol/PAS 2050 and the PEF. The proposed allocation method can be used to guide further development of available standards and the product category rules, which will contribute to increased harmonisation and consistency of LCA studies in the pulp and paper sector, as well as to the enhanced practical implementation of LCA in industry.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)264-274
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible


    • Allocation
    • Fibre age
    • Fibre flow model
    • Life cycle assessment
    • Number of uses
    • Open-loop recycling


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