How does SPOC work?
SPOC quantifies the differences between different packaging solutions in terms of CO2 emissions and energy consumption. It is specially designed for food and non-food packaging.
The calculations take into account a wide variety of material types, processing processes, transport routes and all common end-of-life variants. This allows packaging to be designed in a more sustainable way.
In the following, various points about the calculation method of SPOC are presented. These include the following focal points:
- Functional unit
- System Boundaries
- Environmental Impact Categories
- Data and data quality
- Life cycle assessment: calculation of emissions
- Reporting (in progress)
Which calculation methods are SPOC based?
In SPOC, the functional unit is a packaging for a specific product that performs various predetermined tasks (mechanics, barrier, optics, processability, logistics, convenience, etc.).
The packaging solutions suitable for this are determined and managed by the SPOC user himself. The packaging solutions to be compared should meet the requirements that have to be met.
The system is the process that is specific to the packaging material/packaging material and to guide them to the end-of-life. However, the use of packaging by the end consumer is not included.The system limits are defined by the SPOC user himself, there are the following options:
- Cradle to grave
- Cradle to gate
- Cradle to market
Geographical system boundaries
SPOC refers to the infrastructure in Germany. An extension to other European countries will take place soon.
Time limits of the system
SPOC is suitable for calculating the current CO2 footprint in the production and disposal of packaging.
Completeness and cut-off of processes / materials
The SPOC user is responsible for including all materials and processes used in the packaging in the SPOC calculations. A reduction is allowed if the results are not significantly changed, for example by processes and materials that have little influence.
Since materials provide the main effect, at least 90 percent of all materials should be covered. In a comparative calculation with SPOC, parts that are identical can be omitted, for example printing inks. If all packaging solutions to be compared are compared without printing, the results remain equivalent.
Of course, this only applies if comparable printing materials are used. Ideally, the SPOC user will check whether the resulting changes are sufficiently small before simplifying the calculation by not including materials / processes.
SPOC calculates the CO2 footprint and the energy used as well as the amount of primary, fossil raw materials.
When it comes to the environmental impact of packaging, its end-of-life is of great importance and, above all, the inclusion of recycling and incineration. At SPOC, the recycling processes are divided into open-loop and closed-loop. The allocations are made in accordance with the requirements of the ILCD Manual for Life Cycle Assessment (attributional LCI), in which all occurring loads are related to the total amount of use increased by recycling.
The energy release from the thermal recycling process and the resulting co2 emissions that would otherwise arise if this energy had to be generated by fossil fuels is attributed to the packaging material as a credit. The credit for electricity is based on the CO2 emissions per KWh of electricity for the region specified in the system boundaries. The credit for the thermal energy obtained is calculated in relation to heat generation with natural gas.
SPOC uses data for the materials and technologies used to manufacture and process packaging, which are regularly updated. The data on energy production and the various disposal routes refer to the infrastructure in Germany, and an extension to other European countries will take place soon.
Transport data is carried out in accordance with the specifications of Ecotransit. The transport calculations are very simplified and give only a rough estimate. However, the more detailed calculable data via Ecotransit can be entered into SPOC.
Example: Truck transport
Truck transport is based on a 40-tonne truck with Euro 5 standard for transport on a medium incline at a 60% capacity utilization. The transport of the individual packaging material components and the transport of the finished packaging is calculated in such a way that the packaging material is the reason for the transport. When transporting the filled packaging, the influence of the packaging is calculated in such a way that the packaged goods are the reason for the transport and the packaging only causes a weight surcharge during transport.
Example: Rail transport
The rail transit refers to an e-train with 1,000 tons and a capacity utilization of 60 percent.
A large part of the material data are average values from the existing production facilities in the market, which are published by associations such as Plastic Europe, European Aluminium, Bundesverband Glasindustrie e.V. or the Verband Metallverpackungen VMV for the main packaging materials used. The data represent average values of a large part of the production sites in Germany / Europe. Even if the data from individual production sites differ, this average value is achieved on average when the respective material is used in the geographical area to which the values refer.
Generic data from, for example, BAT reference documents, national data sets, scientific or other LCA publications are also created if no means or specific data are available, or if this improves the quality of the data. Care was taken to ensure that the generically derived data reflect the current state of the art.
Self-created specific data for products / processes can also be entered in SPOC by the user if the primary process data is available, whereby the user is responsible for the quality of the data himself.
All data used is accurately selected for packaging and covers most of the materials and processes used in packaging, so common packaging solutions can be fully calculated.
For processing, data from usually modern equipment provided by machine manufacturers or manufacturing companies was used.
All data were checked for plausibility.
SPOC calculates the CO2 emissions and energy consumption of a package based on the materials entered by the user, material quantities, processing, transport and disposal for the respective functional unit.
The user of SPOC must know the individual materials and their quantities as well as their manufacturing processes for the individual parts of the overall packaging. The total quantities of material must be of the size that corresponds to the functional unit.
Furthermore, the user must know or independently estimate what the recycling rates of the calculated packaging solution are and what disposal is carried out. The user of SPOC should therefore have the necessary expertise or the necessary information available.
SPOC calculates CO2 emissions and energy consumption on the basis of the material/process/end-of-life/transport inputs. The emissions of the individual sub-materials and sub-processes are displayed separately so that the main causes can be traced. The calculations are reproducible due to the calculations and predefined data sets that are always carried out in the same way. Therefore, all users of SPOC can discuss the data obtained from SPOC and compare packaging solutions.
When using renewable raw materials, SPOC differentiates between the release of CO2 from fossil and biological origin. Credits for temporary storage or delayed emission of greenhouse gases are not included.