Uncertainty and sensitivity in the carbon footprint of shopping bags

Tuomas Mattila (Corresponding Author), Marjukka Kujanpää, Helena Dahlbo, Risto Soukka, Tuuli Myllymaa

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Carbon footprints for several shopping bag alternatives (polyethylene, paper, cotton, biodegradable modified starch, and recycled polyethylene) were compared with life cycle assessment. Stochastic uncertainty analysis was used to study the sensitivity of the comparison to scenario and parameter uncertainty. On the basis of the results, we could give only a few robust conclusions without choosing a waste treatment scenario or limiting the parameter space. Given the scenario of current waste infrastructure in Finland, recycled polyethylene bags seem to be the most preferable (−7 to 24 g CO2 eq./bag) and biodegradable bags the least preferable (38 to 60 g CO2 eq./bag) option. In each analyzed waste treatment scenario, a few parameters dominated the uncertainty of results. Most of these parameters were downstream of the shopping bag manufacturing (consumer behavior, landfill conditions, method of waste combustion, etc.). The choice of waste treatment scenario had a greater effect on the ranking of bags than parameter uncertainty within scenarios. This result highlights the importance of including several scenarios in comparative life cycle assessments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)217-227
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
    Volume15
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Fingerprint

    carbon footprint
    uncertainty
    scenario
    waste treatment
    life cycle assessment
    life cycle
    consumption behavior
    uncertainty analysis
    starch
    ranking
    cotton
    landfill
    manufacturing
    combustion
    infrastructure
    parameter
    Finland
    agricultural product

    Keywords

    • climate change
    • industrial ecology
    • life cycle assessment (LCA)
    • Monte Carlo simulation
    • plastic
    • waste treatment

    Cite this

    Mattila, Tuomas ; Kujanpää, Marjukka ; Dahlbo, Helena ; Soukka, Risto ; Myllymaa, Tuuli. / Uncertainty and sensitivity in the carbon footprint of shopping bags. In: Journal of Industrial Ecology. 2011 ; Vol. 15, No. 2. pp. 217-227.
    @article{a4996510bb1d4e0fbc6095d929d308c2,
    title = "Uncertainty and sensitivity in the carbon footprint of shopping bags",
    abstract = "Carbon footprints for several shopping bag alternatives (polyethylene, paper, cotton, biodegradable modified starch, and recycled polyethylene) were compared with life cycle assessment. Stochastic uncertainty analysis was used to study the sensitivity of the comparison to scenario and parameter uncertainty. On the basis of the results, we could give only a few robust conclusions without choosing a waste treatment scenario or limiting the parameter space. Given the scenario of current waste infrastructure in Finland, recycled polyethylene bags seem to be the most preferable (−7 to 24 g CO2 eq./bag) and biodegradable bags the least preferable (38 to 60 g CO2 eq./bag) option. In each analyzed waste treatment scenario, a few parameters dominated the uncertainty of results. Most of these parameters were downstream of the shopping bag manufacturing (consumer behavior, landfill conditions, method of waste combustion, etc.). The choice of waste treatment scenario had a greater effect on the ranking of bags than parameter uncertainty within scenarios. This result highlights the importance of including several scenarios in comparative life cycle assessments.",
    keywords = "climate change, industrial ecology, life cycle assessment (LCA), Monte Carlo simulation, plastic, waste treatment",
    author = "Tuomas Mattila and Marjukka Kujanp{\"a}{\"a} and Helena Dahlbo and Risto Soukka and Tuuli Myllymaa",
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    Mattila, T, Kujanpää, M, Dahlbo, H, Soukka, R & Myllymaa, T 2011, 'Uncertainty and sensitivity in the carbon footprint of shopping bags', Journal of Industrial Ecology, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 217-227. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1530-9290.2010.00326.x

    Uncertainty and sensitivity in the carbon footprint of shopping bags. / Mattila, Tuomas (Corresponding Author); Kujanpää, Marjukka; Dahlbo, Helena; Soukka, Risto; Myllymaa, Tuuli.

    In: Journal of Industrial Ecology, Vol. 15, No. 2, 2011, p. 217-227.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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    AU - Mattila, Tuomas

    AU - Kujanpää, Marjukka

    AU - Dahlbo, Helena

    AU - Soukka, Risto

    AU - Myllymaa, Tuuli

    PY - 2011

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    N2 - Carbon footprints for several shopping bag alternatives (polyethylene, paper, cotton, biodegradable modified starch, and recycled polyethylene) were compared with life cycle assessment. Stochastic uncertainty analysis was used to study the sensitivity of the comparison to scenario and parameter uncertainty. On the basis of the results, we could give only a few robust conclusions without choosing a waste treatment scenario or limiting the parameter space. Given the scenario of current waste infrastructure in Finland, recycled polyethylene bags seem to be the most preferable (−7 to 24 g CO2 eq./bag) and biodegradable bags the least preferable (38 to 60 g CO2 eq./bag) option. In each analyzed waste treatment scenario, a few parameters dominated the uncertainty of results. Most of these parameters were downstream of the shopping bag manufacturing (consumer behavior, landfill conditions, method of waste combustion, etc.). The choice of waste treatment scenario had a greater effect on the ranking of bags than parameter uncertainty within scenarios. This result highlights the importance of including several scenarios in comparative life cycle assessments.

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