The environmental work carried out both by companies and by regulatory bodies has traditionally focused largely on reducing environmental impacts from specific sources, such as emissions from individual plants. To some extent, product constituents have also been examined.
However, it is becoming increasingly clear that environmental work will need to proceed from different starting-points if it is to deal effectively with the major environmental threats facing us in the future, such as the greenhouse effect, acidification, eutrophication and so on.
Many of the factors contributing to these threats originate from sources outside the actual plant. Examples are the choice of raw materials, transport methods, energy use, the composition of the product and,equally important, the uses to which various products are put. It will therefore be appropriate to apply a far broader perspective in future, taking the entire range of sources into account, in order to make a more accurate assessment of the environmental benefits or hazards associated with different alternatives.
A technique known as life-cycle analysis (LCA) is used in order to gain an overall perspective of the environmental impact of a product. The technique involves cataloguing the product’s environmental impact “from the cradle to the grave. “An LCA has been performed on Falu Rödfärg, and also on an alternative painting system based on a distemper.
The analysis involved making an inventory of all environmental impacts throughout all stages from production of the primary raw materials to using the product to paint a wooden building facade measuring 100 m2, and also including all the transports in the chain.
Another important factor is obviously the ability of the paint to preserve the wooden facade, not only from a quality viewpoint but also from an environmental viewpoint, since replacement of the wooden facade also causes an environmental impact. We know from experience that facades maintained using Falu Rödfärg last an extremely long time. In this study, it is assumed that the facades last equally long.
Results of life-cycle analysis
The following diagram shows the impact of the products on known environmental problems,such as the greenhouse effect, acidifi cation, eutrophication and low-level ozone formation. For each type of environmental impact, the alternative causing the greatest impact has been set at 100%.
It is clear from the figures that Falu Rödfärg is an excellent choice for painting jobs where a low environmental impact is a requirement. If you are interested in the more detailed information contained in this study, the life-cycle analysis can be obtained from Stora Enso, Falu Rödfärg, S-791 80 FALUN, tel.+46 23-78 23 25, fax +46 23-78 27 08, e-mail email@example.com.