Sustainability

Ecodesign of the product

Changing from a linear economic model to a circular one is the challenge of our time.

The first presupposes that the goods must have a terminal life cycle, which ends when they are no longer needed and are then thrown into landfills. The second is designed to regenerate the resources it uses, reusing them in multiple production and use cycles

 

Linear economy

Raw materialsProduction and planningDistributionConsumptionWaste

Circular economy

Raw materialsPlanningProduction, reworkingDistributionConsumption, use, reuse, repairCollectionResidual wasteRecycling

The recyclability of materials used for packaging is crucial for developing a production and consumption model where the end of one product is the beginning of a new one.

Just think, on average one inhabitant of Europe produces about 163 kg of packaging waste per year (source: Eurostat) consisting mainly of paper and cardboard (41%), plastic (19%), glass (18%) and wood (16%).

Paper and cardboardPlasticGlassWoodMetalPer capita production of packaging waste EU-28, 2014
Source: Eurostat

RDM Group offers only products that can be reused, recycled and regenerated.

In fact, the Group’s cardboards are more than 90% recyclable and biodegradable according to the technical standards EN13430 and EN13432.
In making its products, the RDM Group uses over 50% secondary raw materials: these are materials derived from the recovery and recycling of end-of-life products or residues from processing raw materials. By recycling, we reduce the amount of material heading for the landfill and limit the use of virgin raw materials taken from nature.

 

When virgin raw materials must be used, we utilise materials mainly from renewable resources. Overall, more than 80% of the materials that enter our industrial processes and that we use for plant maintenance derive from renewable resources.

 

On the total material that we use for producing our cardboard, their packaging and plant maintenance: 58% are recycled materials, 87% are materials from renewable resources.

To continue improving the environmental compatibility of our products, we make use of the Life Cycle Assessment. With this scientific method we have the chance of measuring in a systematic and thorough way the impact on the environment we generate through the production, use and recycling of our board.

Use of non-renewable sources

Water consumption

Greenhouse effect

Acid rain

Eutrophication

Photochemical smog

Life Cycle
Assessment

Transportation

Manufacturing

Distribution

End of life

Raw Materials

Through this method we are able to examine the whole life of the products, from the purchase of the necessary raw materials for the production of the board and its coatings, to the conversion in the RDM Group plants, up to the distribution to our clients and, finally, the disposal of the products after being used. All these phases are meant as a set of processes requiring materials and energy, which generate burdens for the environment, in the way of waste products and emissions in the atmosphere and water.

 

In the study we measured exactly all these aspects, and the final report summarizes in a holistic manner the total resources, energy and water required to produce, commercialize, use and recycle again our board, along with the emissions in the atmosphere and the other pollutants we generated.

 
This analysis was conducted on five typical products of the Group, produced in 2017 in the plant in Santa Giustina Bellunese. Below are the results.

During its whole life cycle, one kilo of RDM Group board required, on average:

1,2 kg

of raw materials obtained by renewable sources and recycling

0,5 kg

of non-renewable sources used as raw materials and to produce energy

0,7 Mj

of energy obtained by renewable sources

9,9 l

of water

 
During its whole life cycle, one kilo of RDM Group board generates environmental impacts, by contributing on average to:

Global warming in the amount of

0,83 kg

carbon dioxide equivalent
(CO2 eq.)

Acidification in the amount of

2,77 g

sulphur dioxide equivalent
(SO2 eq.)

Photochemical ozone creation in the amount of

0,14 g

ethaylene equivalent
(C2H4 eq.)

Eutrophication in the amount of

0,89 g

phosphate
(PO4 3- eq.)

 

Analyzed products: VinciCoat 112, grammage 350 g/m2; VinciBright 113, grammage 350 g/m2; VinciStar 122, grammage 550 g/m2; VinciAvana 962, grammage 445 g/m2; VinciBright Special 963, grammage 320 g/m2.

 

The LCA study of our board is based on the ISO 14040:2006 and 14044:2006 standards, accepted on an international level, currently considered among the most reliable standards to measure the environmental impact of a product.
Concerning the inventories of the environmental burdens associated to the various sub-processes included in the system (production of raw materials, energy and fuel, transport and waste disposal treatments), we took as reference the ecoinvent database, in its most recent version, that is 3.31.
The end of life of the packaging used for ready-for-sale board was determined by considering the overall recycling rate and energy recovery rate for the different packaging materials, in the territory context in which the board is used.

What did we learn?

  • During the life cycle of our board, most of the environmental burden is created in the mill itself, especially for the production of the energy necessary to dry paper sheets. The impacts deriving from the upstream processes of raw materials extraction, instead, and downstream processes of product shipment and after-use recycling, are much more limited.
  • If we compare the environmental performance of RDM Group packaging materials to plastic packaging materials with similar stiffness characteristics, the environmental burden in terms of greenhouse effect and water footprint of the RDM Group board is, respectively, XX and YY times inferior.
  • Let’s take for example a packaging item produced with 50 g of RDM Group board and a similar one in size and stiffness produced with 50 g of plastic. With an equal manufacturing process in the conversion plant, a package created with RDM Group board emits in the atmosphere XX kg fewer of CO2 and uses XXX liters fewer of water, when compared to an ideal similar package in plastic.