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.
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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.",
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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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