Every three years FEFCO (European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers) and CCB (Cepi ContainerBoard) issue a report and a database of life cycle inventory (LCI) data for corrugated base papers and corrugated products. The goal is to provide high quality and transparent LCI data for use in life cycle studies.

A robust process has been developed in which the data received are processed and checked by both LCA practitioners and industry experts. The results are independent peer reviewed by ifeu – Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg GmbH, Germany.

The report explains the production process and the methodology used for the LCI and discusses the input data and results. The Annex of the report contains environmental data of the production of:

• Corrugated base papers from primary fibres: Kraftliner, White Top Kraftliner and Semi Chemical Fluting (based on data supplied by members of CCB)
• Corrugated base papers from recycled papers: Testliner, White Top Testliner and Recycled Fluting (based on data supplied by members of CCB)
• Corrugated board products (based on data supplied by members of FEFCO).

The data in this ninth edition of the report represents the weighted averages of the inputs and outputs from the production sites per tonne of paper and per tonne of corrugated board product for the year 2017.  

The database handles the production sites as a black box. Details of the different processes in the production sites are not provided. Emissions originating from production of resources consumed, energy production outside the mill or corrugated plant, transport and waste treatment are excluded from the datasets, but the impacts of these additional unit processes can be added by the user to facilitate full cradle-to-gate or cradle-to-cradle life cycle studies.

The data collected for this study cover a significant proportion of the sector. For Semi Chemical Fluting and Kraftliner, the collected data represent about 85% of the total annual production of corrugated base papers from primary fibres in Europe, whilst the data for the production of Testliner (including White Top Testliner) and Recycled Fluting represent about 58% of the total annual production of corrugated base papers from recovered paper in Europe. Data for corrugated board production covered approximately 54% of the total annual production in Europe. The high levels of data provision mean that the datasets presented in the Annex are highly representative of the practices and subsequent overall environmental performance of the sector.

As experience grows and LCA methodologies evolve, opportunities to improve the quality of the data collected and presented are identified and implemented. During the production of this latest dataset, the following improvements were made:

  • Improved data collection for delivery of wood to the mill
  • Improved data collection for delivery of recovered paper to the mill
  • Improved data collection for transport of corrugated materials from the mill to the box plant

These improvements have allowed more representative transport scenarios to be defined with the available data.  

The report is available for interested parties on the condition that the data may only be used for environmental studies such as Life Cycle Inventory Analysis, Life Cycle Impact Assessment as separate steps or as a whole Life Cycle Assessment.

The database may only be used for environmental studies regarding product development and improvement. The database cannot be used for comparisons between the production of primary fibre and recovered fibre-based materials as such or for comparison to other materials.

FEFCO and CCB are committed to regular updates of the database. The user of the database should therefore check whether it is the latest edition, which will always be available online or through direct contact with either of the Associations involved.

FEFCO and CCB would like to thank all participants from the industry for providing the necessary input from their plants. Collecting, processing and checking the data is a significant undertaking. The high level of ongoing participation of the members of both organisations is highly appreciated.

FEFCO and CCB are also grateful for the positive response and valuable feedback received from users of the previous editions of the database and reports and welcome comments to this edition as well. Such feedback helps to further improve the quality and value of future updates!

November 2018

Angelika Christ, FEFCO                                                                  Klaus Spielmann, Cepi ContainerBoard