MOYU even more sustainable!?
Author: Tessa Mouw, scriptieonderzoek
Today's society is increasingly concerned about the environment. It is therefore important for MOYU to continue to research the environmental impact of their products. To map out the environmental impact, using a life cycle analysis (LCA) is a useful method. Uuuuhh wait, a life what? In this blog I will take you through my research into the LCA of MOYU's A5 hardcover notebook compared to the footprint of a paper notebook.
First: What is a LCA?
An LCA is a method for mapping the impact of products, services and human activities on the environment. Characteristic of an LCA is that the entire life cycle of the product is mapped out, from the extraction of raw materials up to and including waste processing. For example, using a computer instead of a notepad seems much more sustainable. But a computer needs power and a data center. And how much impact does building a data center have? Is a computer really that sustainable? All these, perhaps invisible, factors can be included in an LCA. In this way it is possible to assess the total environmental impact of a product. In addition, it indicates where in the chain the environmental impact lies so that alternatives can be offered.
The LCA has been standardized since the 1990s by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in the ISO standards 14040 and 14044. The ISO 1440 provides a standard framework to correctly apply the principles and requirements in an LCA. The procedure of an LCA is divided into the following four phases:
Definition of Goal and Scope: In phase one, it is clearly mapped out what is being analyzed and its scope. To be able to determine the goal properly, it is necessary to define a precise question. It is also important to determine the target group and the intended application. The scope of the goal is determined by the time frame, the accuracy of the research, the technological scope and finally the method of analysis used. When determining the purpose and scope, it is not only important to collect data on the topic of environmental impact, but the decisions and choices regarding that data are also considered.
Inventory Analysis: During the second phase, the lifecycle inventory, the product system is defined. The environmental inputs and outputs, or everything defined in phase one, are quantified and converted into functional units. The data is collected through data collection. If qualitative data is needed, questionnaires can be used.
Impact assessment: Once the data has been collected, it is time in phase three to translate the results into an understanding of environmental impacts and societal preferences. Think of the emissions of climate change with different weighting factors or impact factors. Furthermore, possible adjustments to the system, such as transporting the product with a more economical vehicle, are also particularly examined. Various methods for environmental impact assessments can be used for this purpose. Software programs such as EcoChain are usually used for this.
Interpretation: In the fourth and final phase, the life cycle analysis is interpreted. In this way, a conclusion and recommendation can be made regarding the results of the earlier phases.
Applying LCA to MOYU
During this research, comparisons will be made between two products with the same function. By establishing a functional unit (FU), the different forms of note-taking systems can be compared fairly. Because stone paper and wood pulp do not match in weight and surface area, the FU is determined based on the performance of the notebooks: making notes possible for three years. Since stone paper and wood pulp paper have different service lives, the functional unit is as follows: using a notebook for three years.
Then the system boundary is determined. The system boundary determines which parts of the chain are included in the calculation and which parts are not. To determine the system boundary of the notebooks, the question 'Which parts fall within the system in view of the functional unit?' is therefore crucial. For example, within an LCA it is not necessary to map out all processes, but it is also possible to look at recycling alone, for example. The system boundary used during this study is called 'Cradle to grave'. Cradle to grave, or cradle to grave, maps the extraction of the raw material up to and including the waste phase. The life phases production, transport and end-of-life are covered, and all inputs and outputs are eligible. About the paper industry, for example, this is from the extraction of the seed from the tree to the burning of the paper. In this case, it therefore does not include recycling.
After it was clear what was going to be analyzed, it is finally time to calculate the LCA. This was done using the software program EcoChain Mobius. This was chosen because EcoChain has an extensive database about all materials of a notebook. For example, it is possible to easily compare products, since there is a lot of data available about different materials, energies, etc. EcoChain uses secondary data and, in addition to their own database, also retrieves data from large databases such as Ecoinvent. As a result, EcoChain already has more than 250,000 products in their database!
By entering the data of the production, transport and end-of-life of both products in EcoChain Mobius, and linking data to it, the total environmental impact is eventually calculated. This has shown that one paper A5 notebook emits 0.4 kilograms of CO2 equivalent. The total emissions of one MOYU erasable Notebook A5 | Hardback | Ring binder is 0.37 kilograms of CO2 equivalent. However, we mentioned earlier that the products are compared based on the FU of three years of use of a notebook. Since MOYU's notebooks are erasable, we have said that 1 MOYU replaces 15 'normal' notebooks in three years. This means that with the purchase of one MOYU erasable Notebook A5 | Hardback | Ring binder saves 5.63 kilograms of CO2 equivalent!
So, buying a MOYU notebook is definitely more sustainable! The saving of 5.63 kilograms of CO2 equivalent is equal to driving a car for 25 kilometers. This means that buying a MOYU does not therefore mean that your entire CO2 footprint is excused. To really combat climate change, people would have to drastically change their entire lifestyle. Buying a MOYU is a good step in the right direction. So don't hesitate and buy a MOYU instead of a paper notebook from now on!