Dr Pere Fullana

Qualifications

Dr Pere Fullana i Palmer holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering (URL) and won a Caja Madrid Award for his thesis. He also has degrees in Industrial Engineering (UAB) and Chemical Engineering (IQS-URL) and in 1988 won an Award for Best Bachelor's Degree Final Project. He continued his academic education by taking postgraduate courses in informatics and business management.

Professional and research activity

Dr Pere Fullana is currently a full professor at ESCI-UPF, where he also serves as director of the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF.

He contributes to several postgraduate educational activities, focused mainly on supervising PhD students. Dr Fullana is also a lecturer for the Master’s Degree in Waste Management (UPM) and module coordinator for the Master’s Degree in Environmental Management (USJ), as well as teaching sustainability management for the Bachelor's Degree in International Business and Marketing (BDIBM) at ESCI-UPF.

His international focus led him to chair the Europe LCA Steering Committee at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) and he was the first LCA member on its Europe Council. For many years, he played a key role as the Spanish delegate on ISO and CEN environmental standardisation committees. He was actively involved with the UNEP-SETAC Life Cycle Initiative from its early days. Dr Fullana also helped develop GHG Protocols for Scope 3 and Product emissions and is currently a member of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Climate Change Expert Group.

In 2009 he was awarded the Best Scientific Contribution Award by the International Society for Industrial Ecology at the 4th International Conference on Life Cycle Management (LCM2009). In 2008 the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF received an Environment Award for Research, Development and Design of Innovation Projects Aimed at Mitigating Climate Change, awarded by the Catalan Ministry of the Environment and Housing, for its ECOTOY project on ecodesign for electrical and electronic devices in the toy industry. The Chair was also shortlisted for the European Commission’s Europe INNOVA Award in the same year. In 2013 it received a Mention of Energy Excellence from the Catalan Government, and in 2018 it received the Most Relevant Scientific Contribution Award at the RECUWASTE Conference for its LIFE+ Zero Cabin Waste Project, as well as Best Student Oral Presentation Award and the Best Student Poster Award at the 2018 LCA Food conference at Bangkok, Thailand.

Selected publications

The aviation industry generates a significant amount of comingle waste. Nowadays, companies are making efforts to enhance waste management and reduce waste generation. In order to improve present practices and implement a proper waste management system, the quantities, materials, and typology of waste generated need to be studied. A total of 145 airplanes were analysed. We differentiated 5 strips of duration and identified 4 different generation sources within the cabin associated to the business and tourist passenger classes. We classified and characterized the waste into 20 different materials. Results provide a detailed, representative and adapted study of the catering waste generated in the aviation industry. The characterization, which allows distinguishing between manipulated and unmanipulated materials, aims at providing useful information to reduce the generation of waste. The analysis performed in the present study shows that the flying distance increases the waste generation, as more food is served. It also shows that organic matter, paper/cardboard and packaging are the dominant materials in the waste generated in flights. The results of the characterizations obtained allow making some recommendations. The use of bi-compartmentalized waste trolleys to separate on-board recyclable materials from the rest is desirable to obtain a clean recoverable waste stream. Supressing unpopular food from menus, identified analysing the leftovers, could also reduce the amount of waste generated. (This characterization study is part of the European project LIFE?+?Zero Cabin Waste.). Changes in the CE 1069/2009 regulation would allow more waste to be recycled instead of landfilled. Ultimately, the information obtained from this study will be used to design a more sustainable waste management system.

Purpose

The main purpose of this article is to assess the nutritional and economic efficiency of food loss and waste (FLW) along the supply of 13 food categories included in the Spanish food basket by means of the definition of a new method which combines two indexes.

Methods

The nutrient-rich foods index and the economic food loss and waste (EFLW) index were combined by means of linear programming to obtain the nutritional cost footprint (NCF) indicator under a life cycle perspective. The functional unit used was the daily supply of food for a Spanish citizen in year 2015.

Results and discussion

Results showed that vegetables and cereals were the food categories most affected by the inefficiencies in the food supply chain under a nutritional perspective, being agricultural production and household consumption the main stages in which the nutritional content of food is lost or wasted. Moreover, according to the NCF index, vegetables represented 27% of total nutritional-economic wastage throughout the entire Spanish agri-food chain. They are followed by fruits, which add up to 19%. Hence, specific food waste management strategies should be established for these specific products and supply stages. Finally, the sensitivity analysis performed highlighted that results were mostly independent from the importance attributed to either nutritional or economic variables.

Conclusions

The methodology described in this study proposes an indicator quantifying the nutritional-economic cost of different food categories in the Spanish food basket. This NCF indicator makes it possible to define reduction strategies to promote the use of food waste fractions for waste-to-energy valorization approaches or the extraction of different types of pharmacological, chemical, or cosmetic compounds.

One of the main drivers for companies to perform environmental improvements is economic benefit, either by obtaining a more valuable product or gaining new customers. Circular economy combines environmental improvements with these drivers to achieve higher and quicker benefits. This paper is a case study on packaging eco-design aligned with circular economy strategy along the production chain. Life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to identify the product life cycle stages where the application of eco-design strategies would be more efficient (in this case, raw materials production from virgin petrochemicals). To improve the environmental profile of this packaging, virgin petrochemicals were partially replaced by mineral fillers (calcium carbonate based) or/and post-consumer recycled plastics. Different technically compliant cosmetic tubes were produced by collaboration between a company producing the plastic granulates with mineral fillers and a company producing the cosmetic tubes and cradle-to-gate LCA were performed. The replacement of virgin petrochemicals by mineral fillers helped to reduce the environmental impacts by an average of 12% and the use of post-consumer recycled plastic further decreased emissions up to 29% for 6 out of the 9 evaluated impact categories. The option with better environmental performance was also the one with lower economic costs.

According to the involved companies, LCA combined with ecodesign helped to achieve efficient environmental and economic savings. The findings are important for the plastic packaging sector because they tackle with prime concerns, like plastic debris, climate change and resource depletion. They are of main interest for industrial activities where brand positioning is a priority (i.e. cosmetics).

Appropriate selection of construction materials plays a major role in a building's sustainable profile. The study sets out a comparative life cycle assessment of indoor flooring systems of different nature. The flooring systems consisted of coverings and, where required, bonding material and/or impact soundproofing material. The following coverings were assessed: inorganic (natural stone and ceramic tiles), polymer (carpeting and PVC), and wood-based (laminate and parquet) coverings. The life cycle assessment scope was defined cradle to cradle, i.e. product stage, transport to the construction site, installation of all construction elements, use, and valorisation by recycling, as end-of-life transition scenario towards a circular economy. In the use stage, three scenarios were defined as a function of pedestrian traffic intensity, which determined maintenance, repair, and replacement operations and frequencies. The environmental impacts of the coverings product stage were taken from previously assessed and selected Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), as these are standardised public documents devised to provide environmental life cycle information. The method adopted in the study suggests that, though the use of EPDs as information source is interesting, erroneous conclusions may be drawn if the EPDs are not comparable and/or if the comparison is not made in the building context. The results indicate that the flooring systems with inorganic coverings performed best in the global warming, acidification, eutrophication, photochemical ozone creation, and abiotic depletion for fossil resources impact categories, whereas laminates performed best in the abiotic depletion for non-fossil resources and ozone layer depletion impact categories. The carpet flooring system performed worst in every impact category except photochemical ozone creation potential.

Food packaging is an important industrial sector that has great influence on food loss and waste. The search of optimal conditions to minimize the negative impacts of food packaging on the environment must promote the selection of the best available packages. This work has evaluated the environmental impact of the distribution of fruit and vegetables in the Spanish peninsular context using reusable plastic crates and single-use cardboard boxes. Discussion and decision at each phase and step of the methodology were provided, being an example to follow for similar studies in the future. For the analysis, five different impact categories were considered: global warming potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, ozone depletion potential and photochemical oxidant creation potential. In addition, energy and water consumption were taken into account. According to the results of the analysis, the use of reusable plastic crates should be selected, since the values of all impact categories and energy consumption indicators were higher in the case of single-use cardboard boxes. The sensitivity analysis revealed a robust preference for plastic crates in comparison with cardboard boxes even in alternative scenarios, and only the hypothetic reduction of the quality of the cardboard resulted in significant lower impacts for cardboard boxes in comparison to plastic crates in photochemical oxidant creation potential, acidification potential, and energy consumption. This work demonstrates that plastic packaging should not be totally excluded or banned, since it can be the most environmentally friendly option in certain applications.

The big challenge of the next decades is meeting the global nutritional demand, while reducing the pressure on food resources and the GHG emissions. In this regard, the overall goal consists of redesigning the food systems and promoting sustainable dietary patterns is a crucial aspect. This article focuses on reviewing the state-of-the-art of the combined Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and the Water–Energy–Food (WEF) Nexus approach in assessing the effects of diet transitions. Diet LCAs differ in methodology, design, and assessed environmental impacts. The WEF nexus, which aims at finding synergies and trade-offs between the water, energy, and food resources systems, has been applied to different contexts and levels. However, a limited number of nexus methods have been developed at the food and diet levels, and no commonly recognizable methodology for the nexus assessment has been achieved. An integrated LCA and WEF Nexus approach can be a decisive tool to improve the understanding of the interconnections in the nexus, as it enables the consideration of entire supply chains.

Municipal solid waste (MSW) collection is an important issue in the development and management of smart cities, having a significant influence on environmental sustainability. Door-to-door and pneumatic collection are two systems that represent a way of arranging waste collection in city´s historic areas in Spain where conventional street-side container collection is not feasible. Since door-to-door collection generates significant direct greenhouse gas emissions from trucks, pneumatic collection emerges as an alternative to the trucking system. While this technology apparently reduces local direct air emissions, it suffers from a large energy demand derived from vacuum production for waste suction. The introduction of new normative frameworks regarding the selective collection of the biodegradable fraction makes necessary a comprehensive analysis to assess the influence of this fraction collection and its subsequent recycling by anaerobic digestion. As a novelty, this work compares both conventional door-to-door and pneumatic collection systems from a life cycle approach focusing on the biodegradable waste. Results indicate that, in spite of the fact electricity production and consumption have a significant influence on the results, the energy savings from the recycling of the organic fraction are higher than the energy requirements. Therefore, the pneumatic collection could be an environmentally-friendly option for MSW management under a circular economy approach in Spanish city´s historic areas, since wastes could be a material or energy source opportunity.

Food losses and waste (FLW) tend to be referred to in terms of mass, occasionally in economic terms, disregarding the nutritional-cost nexus of such losses. This work aims to estimate the nutritional food losses and waste (NFLW) of the Spanish agri-food system in terms of energy, macronutrients, fibre, and vitamins and minerals along the entire supply chain. Nutritional food losses (NFL) occurring prior to the distribution level, and nutritional food waste (NFW) at the retail and consumption stages, were distinguished, and 48 representative food commodities and 32 nutrients were characterised. To provide insight into the extent of these values, the results are compared to the equivalent recommended daily intake. In addition, the NFLW for an average Spanish citizen is compared to that for other representative diets: Mediterranean, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and vegan along with the Spanish recommended guidelines. Finally, a nutritional cost footprint (NCF) indicator combining nutritional and economic variables is proposed to define recovery strategies. The results suggest that 4251 kj (1016?kcal), 70.7?g proteins, 22?g dietary fibre, 975?μg vitamin A, 117?mg vitamin C and 332?mg calcium daily per capita are embedded within Spanish FLW. Agricultural production accounts for 40% of NFLW, and fruits and vegetables are the categories with the largest potential for nutritional and economic food wastage mitigation. Results from this paper provide NFLW data and analysis to strengthen and simplify the decision-making process of FLW management strategies.

Annually, around 7.7 billion passengers travel by plane. The menus served during the flight are quite similar between different airlines and are composed of the food itself, packaging (paper envelopes, film, etc.) and tableware (mainly trays, plates, glasses, cups and cutlery). In 2016, 1522 tonnes of tourist class menus were served in Iberia aircrafts landing at Madrid Barajas airport in Spain. From this amount, 51% by weight was packaging and tableware, and the remaining 49% food. As changes in the food has little room for maneuver, since the same amount would be delivered regardless how it is served, this study focus on the possibilities of packaging and tableware to reduce GHG emissions. The assessment has been done using life cycle assessment methodology (LCA) in order to identify the hotspots along the whole life cycle of packaging and tableware items. The case study chosen was the catering service of Iberia, the national airline of Spain. The functional unit used was “the service of 1,000 tourist class menus on Iberia flights that landed in Madrid in 2016”.

The results show that the impacts of reusable and single use items take place at different stages of their life cycles. For reusable ones, 76% of the impact is produced during the flight phase, meanwhile, for single use ones, 53% of the impact comes from the production stage.

Variables such as material, weight and the number of reuses can greatly influence greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. From the results of the analysis some eco-design strategies has been proposed and analysed. The paper reveals that the lighter single-use packaging and tableware for airline catering are less harmful under a life cycle perspective become

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UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and
Climate Change ESCI-UPF

Passeig Pujades 1, 08003
Barcelona, España
(+34) 93 295 4710
unescochair@esci.upf.edu