Life Cycle Assessment and Eco-Efficiency of Para-Rubber Wood Production in Thailand
Harnpon Phungrassami, Phairat Usubharatana
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Excellent Centre of Eco-Energy (ECEE), Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering,
Thammasat University, Thailand
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2015;24(5):2113–2126
Thailand is currently the world’s leader in para-rubber wood furniture exports, contributing revenue to the country of more than $1 billion US annually. However, the life cycle of para-rubber wood production causes environmental impact in multiple ways. This research aims to investigate the environmental impact and eco-efficiency of the para-rubber wood industry. The life cycle inventory of such is gathered from more than 60% of the entire para-rubber cultivation areas in Thailand, which can be considered as the national database. Five gate-to-gate procedures are included in this assessment, namely plantation, felling, mill saw, finger joint, and lamination. The life cycle impacts of 15 products are assessed on a cradle-to-gate basis with SimaPro 7.3.2 applied to characterize five impact categories, including global warming potential, abiotic depletion potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, and ozone depletion potential. The ecoefficiency level of each process is calculated and compared. According to this study, emission sources of the industry can be pointed to the activities in each life cycle step: direct emission, fertilizer production, chemical production, biomass fuel production, fossil fuel production, transport fuel production, and electricity. As a result, plantations exhibit the most eco-efficiency while the mill saw is the step that possesses the highest potential to be enhanced to the highest eco-efficiency. A potential to move onto a higher level in terms of felling and the finger-joint process is virtually impossible.