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Title: Environmental life cycle assessment of a dairy product: the yoghurt
Author: González-García, Sara
Castanheira, Érica G.
Dias, Ana Cláudia
Arroja, Luís
Keywords: Dairy sector
Environmental analysis
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Abstract: The dairy sector covers multiple activities related to milk production and treatment for alimentary uses. Different dairy products are available in the markets, with yoghurt being the second most important in terms of production. The goal of this study was to analyse from a cradle-to-grave approach the environmental impacts and energy balance derived from the yoghurt (solid, stirred and drinking yoghurts) manufacture process in a specific dairy factory processing 100 % Portuguese raw milk. The standard framework of life cycle assessment (LCA) was followed and inventory data were collected on site in the dairy factory and completed using the literature and databases. The following impact categories were evaluated adopting a CML method: abiotic depletion (ADP), acidification (AP), eutrophication (EP), global warming (GWP), ozone layer depletion (ODP), land competition (LC) and photochemical oxidants formation (POFP), with the energy analysis carried out based on the cumulative non-renewable fossil and nuclear energy demand (CED). A mass allocation approach was considered for the partitioning of the environmental burdens between the different products obtained since not only yoghurts are produced but also dairy fodder. The key processes from an environmental point of view were identified. Some of the potential results obtained were in line with other specific related studies where dairy systems were assessed from an LCA perspective. The production of the milk-based inputs (i.e. raw milk, concentrated and powdered milk) was the main factor responsible of the environmental loads and energy requirements, with remarkable contributions of 91 % of AP, 92 % of EP and 62 % of GWP. Other activities that have important environmental impacts include the production of the energy requirements in the dairy factory, packaging materials production and retailing. Potential alternatives were proposed in order to reduce the contributions to the environmental profile throughout the life cycle of the yoghurt. These alternatives were based on the minimisation of milk losses, reductions of distances travelled and energy consumption at retailing and household use, as well as changes to the formulation of the animal feed. All of these factors derived from light environmental reductions. The main reductions of the environmental impact derived from yoghurt production can be primarily obtained at dairy farms, although important improvements could also be made at the dairy factory.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1007/s11367-012-0522-8
ISSN: 0948-3349
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DAO - Artigos

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