LCA Analysis of the Benefits Deriving from Sustainable Production Practices Applied to Cyclamen and Zonal Geranium
Italian floriculture is facing structural changes. Possible options to maintain competitiveness of the involved companies include promotion of added values, from local productions to environmental sustainability. To quantify value and benefits of cleaner production processes and choices, a holistic view is necessary, and could be provided by life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. Previous studies on ornamental products generally focused on data from one company or a small sample. The aim of
... ample. The aim of this study was a gate-to-gate life cycle assessment of two ornamental species (Cyclamen persicum Mill. and Pelargonium ×hortorum Bailey) using data from a sample of 20 companies belonging to a floriculture district in Treviso, Veneto region. We also assessed the potential benefits for the environmental impact of the selected species of alternative management choices regarding plant protection and reuse of composted waste biomass. Life cycle impact assessment showed the higher impact scores for the zonal geranium, mainly as a consequence of greenhouse heating with fossil fuels. This factor, along with higher uniformity of production practices and technological level of equipment, translated in lower variability observed in comparison with cyclamen production, which shows a wider results range, in particular for eutrophication, acidification and human toxicity potentials. The application of integrated pest management had significant benefits in terms of impact reduction for acidification and human toxicity of cyclamen, while reduced use of mineral nutrients through compost amendment of growing media resulted in a reduced eutrophication potential. The achievable benefits for zonal geranium were not observable because of the dominant contribution of energy inputs.