Carbon footprint as an environmental sustainability indicator for the particleboard produced in Pakistan

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This study quantified the carbon footprint of particleboard production in Pakistan using a cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment approach. The system boundary comprised raw materials acquisition, transport, particleboard manufacture and finished product distribution. Primary data were collected through surveys and meetings with particleboard manufacturers. Secondary data were taken from the literature. Greenhouse gas emissions from off-site industrial operations of the particleboard industry represented 52% of the total emissions from the production of 1.0 m3 of particleboard in Pakistan. The on-site industrial operations cause direct greenhouse gas emissions and accounted for 48% of the total emissions. These operations included energy consumption in stationary sources, the company-owned vehicle fleet, and the distribution and marketing of the finished product. The use of natural gas combustion in the stationary and mobile sources, raw material transport and urea-formaldehyde resin production chain accounted for the highest emissions from the particleboard production chain in Pakistan. The identification of the major hotspots in the particleboard production chain can assist the wood panel industry to improve their environmental profile. More efforts are needed to investigate the urea-formaldehyde resin production chain and substitution of roundwood with wood and agri-residues to assess the potential improvements. In addition, renewable energy sources should be encouraged to avoid greenhouse gas emissions by substituting fossil energy. This study also provides a benchmark for future research work to formulate comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans, because no previous research work is available on the carbon footprint of particleboard production in Pakistan.

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