Enhancement of Eco-Efficiency Through Life Cycle Assessment in Crumb Rubber Processing
Sulaiman, Nik Meriam Nik
Mahmooda, Noor Zalina
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Indonesia is the second largest country that produce natural rubber in the world after Thailand. The present practice in crumb rubber factories uses large volume of water and energy needs to be more efficient in their materials and energy usage and leads to environmental problems. The rubber industry needs to improve its competitiveness not only to increase profits but to ensure sustainability. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Eco-Efficiency are used as the combined approach in this research to attain that objective. The study was conducted on two selected crumb rubber processing plants, Factory A and Factory B, in North Sumatera, Indonesia. The main objectives of the study are to conduct life cycle inventory for crumb rubber processing, analyze the environment impact from the life cycle processing activities, and implement opportunities towards environmental improvements through LCA and also to suggest improvements of the impacts from the current practices of crumb rubber processing towards eco-efficiency. This study is a gate to gate study where data inventory starts from acceptance of cup lump from plantation and skim latex as a by product of latex concentrate processing. Based on the results obtained, Factory A contributed higher environmental impact than Factory B. Damage to resources is very high, dominantly contributed from fossil fuel. The highest impact in crumb rubber processing for Factory A is caused by formic acid (46.5%) and plastic (40.5%) with a total impact of 5.483 Pt, while for Factory B it is caused by plastic (64.5%), sulphuric acid (27.6%) with a total impact of 3.439 Pt. Factory B is found to be more eco-efficient in water consumption. As for energy intensity, Factory A has greater energy intensity compared to Factory B.