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Streamlined LCA of Paper - EV0475

Environmental Resources Management Limited (ERM) was commissioned by Defra to undertake a streamlined life cycle assessment (LCA) to investigate the-environmental performance of different office paper supply options. Defra,Buying Solutions and other Government Departments are interested inunderstanding the relative merits of different options relating to procuring office paper and office recycling services.

The specific objectives of the study were to:

• identify the relative life cycle environmental impacts of different office paper supply scenarios, comprising different paper supply systems and waste management options; and

• provide technical background on the relative environmental benefits of different office paper supply systems to support future procurement decisions within HM Government.

The office paper supply scenarios comprise a mix of paper supply systems.

These were selected by Defra, in discussion with WRAP, based on their predominance in the UK paper supply (1). These scenarios included recycled paper, virgin paper and ‘closed loop’ paper sources (paper suppliers who reprocess the paper they supply).

‘Closed loop’ incorporates conventional recycling processes, but allows an organisation to send used paper back to the original supplier mill for recycling and to receive new paper back from the same mill. This system was of interest, in that it reflects HMRC’s current paper supply system, which uses a mill in Germany.

The study has undergone peer review and this report incorporates comments from the review process. The scope of this study did not consider the socioeconomic impacts of the different paper scenarios, which would be a parallel but separate research project.

The results of this research provide Defra with data to add to the evidence base on paper supply and will inform decisions on the development of policy in this area. The data may also be used to inform performance reporting and monitoring of related projects.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : EV0475 Streamlined LCA of Paper Supply Systems Final Report   (642k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2012

Cost: £17,815
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Environmental Resources Management (ERM)
Paper and Card              
Fields of Study
Sustainable Consumption and Production