Development and testing of the Product Environmental Footprint Milk Tool: A comprehensive LCA tool for dairy products.

Affiliation

Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Energia, Via Lambruschini 4, 20156 Milano, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

The paper describes the general structure of the PMT_01 tool developed to assess the environmental impacts of different dairy products as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cheeses of Lombardy Region (Po Valley - Northern Italy) and High Quality fresh pasteurized milk in a cradle-to-distribution center gate approach. Based on the PEF Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology, the authors aim to provide a useful instrument for technicians and researchers in the evaluation of the environmental load of dairy products, allowing the process-hotspots identification through 16 different impact categories. The tool requires a modest amount of data that can be easily collected at the farms and at the dairies. In order to test the tool's performance, the environmental impact of 10 g dry matter of Grana Padano PDO cheese was evaluated starting from the data of three different dairy farms used as "reference farming systems" and one dairy factory. A scenario and a sensitive analysis were also included in the study. The main contribution to most of the environmental impact categories was related to the raw milk production while the dairy factory process affected significantly only a few impact categories. The scenario analysis suggested that the anaerobic digestion could have a strong potential in the mitigation of the GHG emissions while the sensitive analysis confirmed that the choice of the allocation method at the dairy factory level is a key point in the methodological choices. Despite the test of the tool was done only on three farms and one dairy factory, the results were consistent with those of recent studies. Even if some improvements in the tool functionalities are needed, we believe that in the future it could be easily applied on a wider sample of farms and dairies, and used to guide the stakeholders through a responsible environmental strategy.

Keywords

Dairy products,Grana Padano PDO,Life cycle assessment,Product Environmental Footprint,Tool,