Life cycle assessment of strawberry soilless cultivation and packaging: an Italian case study

A. Ilari, F. Capocasa, S. Fabrizi, G. Toscano, E. Foppa Pedretti, D. Duca
In this study the environmental impact of strawberry cultivation and packaging was evaluated by means of a life cycle analysis (LCA) methodology. The production chain considered included cultivation and packaging steps. The cultivation was performed under protected environment using soilless technology. The plant density adopted was 1 plant m‑2 housed in a mulch sack filled with a substrate composed by
60% peat mix and 40% coconut husk. Total fruit production was 750 g plant‑1 (distributed in 600 g plant‑1 in spring and 150 g plant‑1 in autumn). The functional unit selected was 1 kg of packed strawberries (not considering the packaging weight). The information included in the life cycle inventory were total yield, plants, pesticides, fertilisers, plastic film and iron (for building), growing medium, plastic film (of mulching sack), water, plastics (PET, HDPE, PP) paper and wood (for primary, secondary and tertiary packaging). The packaging solution considered in the analysis was a 250-g strawberry plastic container. The indexes selected for environmental impact evaluation were primary water consumption, abiotic depletion (ADP), abiotic depletion (ADPfossil), global warming potential (GWP), ozone depletion (ODP), human toxicity (HTP), photochemical oxidation (POCP), acidification (AP) and eutrophication (EP). The analysis shows a primary water consumption around 300 L kg‑1, an impact of 1.7e‑6 kg Sb eq kg‑1 and 7.3 MJ kg‑1 for ADP and ADPfossil, respectively. The GWP impact was found to be 0.5 kg CO2 eq kg‑1. For the other categories, the impacts calculated were 0.2 kg 1,4-DB eq kg‑1 (HTP), 0.0002 kg C2H4 eq kg‑1 (POCP), 0.005 kg SO2 eq kg‑1 (AP) and 0.002 kg PO43- eq kg‑1.
Ilari, A., Capocasa, F., Fabrizi, S., Toscano, G., Foppa Pedretti, E. and Duca, D. (2021). Life cycle assessment of strawberry soilless cultivation and packaging: an Italian case study. Acta Hortic. 1309, 605-612
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1309.87
LCA, global warming, environmental impact, greenhouse cultivation, climate change, sustainability

Acta Horticulturae