Use and production of industrialized wood based panels is increasing in Brazil and one of the outstanding products is the Oriented Strand Boards (OSB). At the same time, environmental concerns by companies and society about products and production systems are also growing, and the current study aims to assess the environmental impacts associated to the Brazilian OSB production in order to propose improvement alternatives focused on their profile's enhancement. Thus, a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study was performed according to ISO14040 and 14044 frameworks. The study covers the life cycle of OSB production from a cradle-to-gate perspective and considering real practices carried out in a representative Brazilian company. The production system has been divided in two main subsystems: Forest operations (SS1) and Panel factory (SS2). The environmental profiles have been reported considering characterization factors from the ReCiPe method, in terms of nine impact categories: climate change (CC), ozone depletion (OD), terrestrial acidification (TA), freshwater eutrophication (FE), marine eutrophication (ME), human toxicity (HT), photochemical oxidant formation (POF), terrestrial ecotoxicity (TET), freshwater ecotoxicity (FET), fossil depletion (FD). According to the results, the industrial activities carried out within SS2 have been identified as the largest responsible of contributions to all impact categories under assessment. The production of pyrethroid termiticide, which is applied in the panels to improve their resistance to attack by wood decay organisms, was the largest contributor to OD, FE, HT and FET. Scenarios based on the substitution of pyrethroid termiticide were proposed and results showed that substituting the pyrethroid termiticide by different types of boron based termiticides could lead to reduce environmental impacts up to 35%. The identification of the main environmental hotspots in the OSB cradle-to-gate life cycle can assist the Brazilian industry to improve its environmental profile by adopting the proposed scenarios for SS2. Finally, further research should be focused on exploring more types of termiticides that can be applied in the OSB panel.
Journal of Cleaner Production – Elsevier
Published: May 10, 2018
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