Environmental impact in floriculture: LCA approach at farm level

J.E. Bonaguro, L. Coletto, B. Samuele, G. Zanin, P. Sambo
The issue of sustainable floriculture and the continuous and increasing demand for environmentally-friendly products have produced, in recent years, several studies that tried to answer these requests. Simultaneously there is a need to meet the companies requirements for cost reduction and more attractive products. Nowadays, studies with an holistic approach to the problem, for example the evaluation of productRSQUOs life cycle, are not very common. A complete study requires, in fact, a huge amount of data acquired throughout the investigation of a statistically significant sample of companies. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology was first used to determine the environmental impact of industrial products. In the last decades its applications in the agricultural sector have increased, though studies on floriculture productions are still rare. In this study we performed the first Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) of three species, poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd.), zonal geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum) and cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum Mill.) and two type of containers, a traditional polypropylene pot and a compostable rice hulls pot. Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) data were sourced from interviews and published literature. The results showed that both type of pots are major contributor to the environmental impact of the assessed systems. Global Warming Potential (GWP) of plastic pot is mainly affected by the material used for its production, while rice hulls (RH) pot is only affected by transport process from the production site. The use of compostable RH pot could potentially be more sustainable, but to date its contribution is only slightly lower than the plastic one. Further assessments including end-of-life information, in particular for plastic materials, may lead to a better evaluation of the possible alternatives.
Bonaguro, J.E., Coletto, L., Samuele, B., Zanin, G. and Sambo, P. (2016). Environmental impact in floriculture: LCA approach at farm level. Acta Hortic. 1112, 419-424
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1112.56
LCI, LCIA, flower pots, rice hulls

Acta Horticulturae