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Last February 12, 2016, a visiting professor from the University of

Queensland, Dr. Anthony Halog gave a lecture on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). He
talked about what this process or method is, why it is done, who uses it, and how it
is done. LCA is a method used to compile and examine the inputs and outputs of the
materials and energy used in the process and the environmental impacts caused by
each step of the process. The four components of LCA are: goal definition and
scoping; life-cycle inventory; impact analysis; and improvement analysis.
He also talked about the limitations of this method. He said that the analyses
are geographically dependent, which means that an LCA analysis for a certain
product done in a certain country cannot be used for an LCA analysis of the same
product but is situated in a different country. The other limitation is that the analysis
only gives the potential impact of the process and not the real impact.
An example of an analysis using the LCA method is an article written by
Hospido et al. which talks about the environmental impacts of the life-cycle of
canned tuna in Galicia, Spain. The study used LCA, and the four components of the
method are discussed as follows:
Goal and scope definition
The article studies the environmental impacts of canned tuna manufacturing
using the LCA method as a first approach to evaluation of the seafood sector of
Spain from an environmental point of view. A representative Galician factory which
produces more than 26,000 tonne of tuna annually was studied. The system under
study starts at the harbour, where frozen tuna are landed and transported to the
factory. Inside the factory the processes are divided into seven subsystems namely,
reception, thawing and cutting, cooking, manual cleaning, manual cleaning, liquid
dosage and filling, sterilization, quality control and packaging and lastly, ancillary
activities. From the canning factory, two more subsystems are studied which include
the transport to wholesale and retail and the use of canned tuna at home.
Life cycle inventory
In the life cycle inventory, the different inputs and outputs per subsystem or
process were listed accordingly. This includes all ingredients, materials and
chemicals used as well as energy consumption and wastes.
Life cycle impact assessment
In the third phase the inventory results were analyzed to understand their
environmental significance better. This is done by classifying the inputs and outputs
from the inventory in specific categories and modelling these inputs and outputs
into an aggregate indicator. The results are then interpreted and analyzed, and the
significant impact categories are identified. From here, the researchers were able to
identify which subsystems contribute the highest system loads. From the study, it
was found out that the manufacture of canned tuna has the highest potential
impact in acidification and global warming. Furthermore, the subsystem which gives
the highest contribution to these potential impacts is processing, specifically the
ancillary activities due to the tinplate production and transportation.

Improvement Analysis
In order to reduce the potential impacts mentioned in the previous
component, different proposals were made. The first option was to increase the
recycled percentage of the packaging materials. Increasing the recycle percentage
does not risk the required characteristics of the packaging material but reduces the
impact by around ten percent. Another option is to replace the packaging material
with plastic bags. This option shows more than fifty percent decrease in the
potential impacts stated above. However, other factors such as consumer
acceptance and economic balance have to be considered before making any
general conclusions.
From the study, it can be seen that the use of tinplate is the greatest
contributor in the environmental impact of the manufacture of tuna. I think that this
type of study should also be done in the Philippines since the demand for canned
tuna or canned goods is high. Especially since canned goods are usually given in
relief packs given to victims of natural calamities or fires that happen frequently in
our country. I have also observed that the second proposal in decreasing the
environmental impact caused by this process is already being done in our country
as some of the canned goods are being replaced with the same product but with
using plastic pouches as the packaging material. This shows that the second
proposal may also achieve economic balance and consumer acceptance.