Life Cycle Carbon Footprint Analysis of Pulp and Paper Grades in the United States Using Production-line-based Data and Integration

Kristen E. Tomberlin, Richard Venditti, Yuan Yao


Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission levels are causing concern as climate change risks are growing, emphasizing the importance of GHG research for better understanding of emission sources. Previous studies on GHG emissions for the pulp and paper industry have ranged in scope from global to regional to site-specific. This study addresses the present knowledge gap of how GHG emissions vary among paper grades in the US. A cradle-to-gate life cycle carbon analysis for 252 mills in the US was performed by integrating large datasets at the production line level. The results indicated that one metric ton of paper product created a production weighted average of 942 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (kg CO2eq) of GHG emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions varied by pulp and paper grade, from 608 kg CO2eq per metric ton of product to 1978 kg CO2eq per metric ton of product. Overall, fuels were the greatest contributor to the GHG emissions and should be the focus of emission reduction strategies across pulp and paper grades.


Greenhouse gas; Carbon footprint; Cradle to gate; Life cycle assessment

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