The need for companies to uphold environmental sustainability in their operations, products or services has posed substantial challenges to environmental professionals, managers and designers. Developing more economically sustainable and environment products requires the use of a logical framework as wells tools, principles, objectives and definitions. One of such frameworks used to ascertain the ecological sustainability of a product is lifecycle assessment (LCA), which is a methodology used to evaluate the environment impacts related to all the phases of a products life, that is, from the stage of raw material extraction , processing of materials, manufacturing, distribution, usage, repairing and maintaining the product, to its disposal. LCAs work in three ways: collecting an inventory of the environmental releases, material inputs and relevant energy; assessing the prospective impacts related to the recognized releases and materials inputs; and analyzing the results in order to come up with a more informed decision. According to Baumann (2004), LCAs involve four main phases, which include goals and scope, lifecycle inventory (LCI), lifecycle impact assessment, and interpretation. The goals and scope of the study establishes the study context and elucidates how the results will be communicated.
This study took into account the LCA aspects of a 100 ml cup of coffee. In this regard, this paper identifies all the inputs streams from the natural environment, all the processes and manufacturing steps for each of the components of coffee, and all the probable outputs throughout the products complete use to its disposal (Guinee, 2002).
The main objective of this project is to undertake a life cycle analysis for a cup of coffee. This project at identifying the environmental impacts associated with all the processes from cradle-to-crave relating to the production and use of a cup of coffee (100ml). The following are the specific objectives associated with this project:
Scope of the Study
This study takes into account the complete life cycle for a cup of coffee from the extraction and processing of raw materials through its use and disposal. The coffee sample used for this study is Caffè Americano, which is made by Starbucks. The focus of this study was on the environmental impacts assessment; as a result, the life cycle cost analysis was not part of this study.
Data Collection and Analysis
This section discusses the environmental analysis for one cup of Caffè Americano. A life cycle analysis was undertaken basing on the guidelines provided by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The environmental data evaluated in this study included energy and material consumption including water. Environmental data relating to the production phase of coffee were collected from published sources. Other environmental data were collected by a review of published results.
Life Cycle Inventory Analysis
LCI entails formulating an inventory of the flows to and from the product/service. Examples of inventory flows are raw materials, water, land, releases to air and energy among others. In order to develop an inventory, there is the need to develop a flow model for the processes as well as the outputs and inputs. It is imperative to note that this inventory is specific, in the sense that inputs were measured per 100 ml of coffee, which is assumed to be equivalent to one cup of coffee. Life cycle impact assessment entails assessing the significance of the prospective environmental effects depending on the results of the LCI flow (Guinee, 2002). Interpretation of the results entails quantifying, checking and evaluating information from the life cycle inventory results regarding the impact assessment. Allen & Shonnard (2011) points out that the results obtained from impact assessment and inventory analysis are summarized in the interpretation phase to provide a framework for decision making. Specifically, interpretation entails formulating recommendations and conclusions for the assessment by identifying the issues depending on the results of LCA and LCIA; evaluating the study regarding the consistency checks, sensitivity and completeness; and highlighting the recommendations, limitations and conclusions.
Growing and Treatment
Prior to the consumption of coffee, it should be grown in the farm and then treated. Planting a coffee plant commences with a bean, wherein in bean obtained from the coffee tree is planted in soil. After about 4-8 weeks, the seedling begins to appear and is placed in a location that is shaded in order to avoid the seedlings from burning due to direct sunlight. When planting, the farmer tends to the seedling for a duration of about 9-18 months until the plants is 2 feet long, after which the small coffee tree is now ready for planting in a plantation. The coffee tree bears fruit during its first 3 years; however, it does not attain maturity until after six years, during which the tree is wholly mature and is in optimal yield (innveden, et al., 2009). A coffee tree has a lifespan of about 20-25 years of producing coffee.
Roasting serves to enhance the flavor of the raw coffee bean. During roasting, the coffee bean is subjected to chemical reactions aimed at enhancing its flavor and destabilizing the coffee. The destabilized coffee often stays fresh for 1 month whereas the coffee bean remains stable for a much longer period. In this regard, coffee is often roasted prior to selling to the consumer. Roasting coffee commences with separating the beans from the debris that are usually mixed with the coffee beans (innveden, et al., 2009). After sorting, coffee is weighed according to a batch size, after which it is put in a roaster for about 3-30 minutes according to the required outcome. The roasting temperature range is about 188-282 degrees Celsius. The duration for roasting coffee has a substantial impact resulting flavor for the coffee. In this regard, the lesser the duration for roasting, the lighter color of the coffee bean.
Coffee is grown in several parts of the world. A significant proportion of carbon emissions and production costs are derived from transportation. At the processing plants, coffee is often trucked in between the processes and fields. When coffee is shipped off the plant, transportation entails mainly trucks and boats, which consume a substantial amount of fuel (Innveden, et al., 2009).
When making a cup of coffee, the beans should be ground first to attain the required consistency followed by running hot boiling water over them in a process referred to as brewing. Brewing is done with the main objective of extracting caffeine and coffee flavor from the roasted coffee beans. It is imperative to note that ground coffee should not be boiled together with water since it results in a bad flavor in the cup of coffee. Brewing coffee can be done using three methods: steeping, boiling and pressurization (Crawford R. , 2011). Steeping coffee is done using a French press, which is a cylindrical glass apparatus having a metal plunger fitting firmly in the glass cylinder. Coffee and hot water are put together in the French press after which they are brewed for duration of about 5-10 minutes. Coffee grounds can be separated from the coffee solution by pressing down the plunger. Steeping results in a stronger cup of coffee since the ground coffee is in contact with the hot water for a relatively longer duration. The longer the ground coffee stays in contact with the hot water, the more the extraction of the coffee oils and flavor.
Boiling is the oldest technique used for brewing coffee and usually entails mixing ground coffee and water in a pot and then boiling them. Boiling coffee is a long time results in a bitter taste. Pressurization makes use of pressurized water and gravity pressure. Brewing using gravity pressure produces drip coffee, which is the most common technique for brewing coffee in the United States. Under gravity pressurization, a filter is often filled with ground coffee after which hot water is slowly passed to flow through the filter. The liquid dripping out of the filter is consumed. Pressurized water brewing (sometimes referred to as espresso) entails the heating and pressurizing water, which is then forced to flow through coffee grounds. This brewing method uses more ground coffee per ounce of liquid coffee when compared to other brewing methods (Baumann, 2004).
After brewing one cup of coffee, the remaining coffee grounds should be disposed of as either waste water, solid waste or recycled. The remains of coffee grounds put in trash often end up in regional solid waste facility. The remaining coffee grounds that have been washed down the drain are often transported as waste sewer through sewer lines ending up in the waste water treatment plant, after which the coffee grounds are separated and treated in accordance with the protocols of a particular plant. Recycled coffee grounds are either used to improve soil fertility or composted. Composting the remaining coffee grounds helps in enriching the nitrogen content of a particular compost. Coffee grounds compost relatively fast owing to the small size of the individual coffee grounds. When used in enriching soil, coffee grounds release nitrogen, which increases the acidity of the soil. The figure below shows the coffee cycle (Hendrickson, Lave, & Matthews, 2005).
Life Cycle Inventory Analysis
The analysis of life cycle inventory for one cup of coffee entails the following:
Results and Discussion
This lifecycle assessment was undertaken to identify the carbon emissions, water use and energy use regarding the production and use of the study. The results for this study are summarized in the following tables. It is imperative to note that processing entails handling and cleaning of green coffee, grinding, roasting, conditioning and filling and packing of coffee.
Energy Required to Produce One Cup of Coffee
The following table 1 shows the amount of energy needed during each of the processes involved in the production of coffee. In order to process and produce a single cup of coffee, about 1.94 Mega Joules of energy is needed. Most of the energy is needed towards the end of the coffee cycle during brewing. However, a substantial amount of energy is lost because large processing plants can reclaim lost energy whereas consumers of cannot reclaim the energy lost in the process.
|Process||Mega Joules per 100 ml cup of coffee|
|Irrigation (4000m3 per hectare per year||0.024|
|Cup and coffee equipment manufacture||0.05|
|End of Life Wastes||-0.07|
Water is one of the largest inputs used during the growing, preparation and processing of coffee. The largest water user during the entire process, which consumes about liters of water for one cup of coffee of about 100 ml. This translates to about 250 times that amount of water present in a single cup of coffee. The following table 2 below shows the amount of water used during the entire process.
|Process||Water use (liters per 100ml)|
|Irrigation (4000m3 per hectare per year||25|
|Cup and coffee equipment manufacture||0.07|
|End of Life Wastes||-0.07|
This study measured carbon emissions basing on the processing procedures, energy use and transport among others. The following table below indicates the quantity of carbon emissions needed for each of the processes in the coffee cycle, which gives a total of 114 pounds of carbon dioxide for one cup of coffee. Washing, brewing and cultivation are the most outstanding emitters of carbon. Carbon emissions as a result of cultivating are relatively large because of the diesel farming equipment. Similarly, carbon emissions emerging from washing and brewing are relatively large because of the energy used by power plants to heat water.
|Process||Gram of carbon dioxide per 100 ml of coffee produced|
|Irrigation (4000m3 per hectare per year||6.08|
|Cup and coffee equipment manufacture||3.29|
|End of Life Wastes||-3.78|
Life cycle analysis can be effectively used to measure the waste and energy required during the lifespan of service or product. This assessment can be beneficial for businesses aiming at decreasing their carbon footprint. In order to undertake a life cycle assessment, it is imperative to ascertain the boundaries and scope of the assessment, gather inventory of all the outputs and inputs of the product being evaluated, determining the environmental impacts depending on the inventory gathered, and interpreting the results and provide suggestions to mitigate the detrimental impacts. From the study, it is apparent that the coffee cycle involves growing and treatment, roasting, transportation, brewing and waste management. The study has found out that in order to process and produce a single cup of coffee, about 1.94 Mega Joules of energy is needed. Most of the energy is needed towards the end of the coffee cycle during brewing
the quantity of carbon emissions needed for each of the processes in the coffee cycle, which gives a total of 114 pounds of carbon dioxide for one cup of coffee. Washing, brewing and cultivation are the most outstanding emitters of carbon. Carbon emissions as a result of cultivating are relatively large because of the diesel farming equipment. Similarly, carbon emissions emerging from washing and brewing are relatively large because of the energy used by power plants to heat water.
Allen, D. T., & Shonnard, D. (2011). Risk and Life-Cycle Frameworks for Sustainablilty. In D. T. Allen, & D. Shonnard, Sustainability Engineering. New York: Pearson Education.
Baumann, H. (2004). The hitchhikers guide to LCA : an orientation in life cycle assessment methodology and application. New York: Wiley.
Crawford, R. (2011). Life Cycle Assessment in the Built Environment. London: Taylor and Francis.
Crawford, R. (2008). Validation of a Hybrid Life-Cycle Inventory Analysis Method. Journal of Environmental Management , 496506.
Guinee, J. (2002). Handbook on Life Cycle Assessment: Operational Guide to the ISO Standards. London: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Hendrickson, C. T., Lave, L. B., & Matthews, H. S. (2005). Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Goods and Services: An InputOutput Approach. New York: Resources for the Future Press.
innveden, G., Hauschild, M., Ekvall, T., Guinee, J., Heijungs, R., Hellweg, S., et al. (2009). Recent developments in Life Cycle Assessment. Journal of Environmental Management , 1-21.
Sarté, S. (2010). Sustainable infrastructure: the guide to green engineering and design. New Jersey: Wiley.
Our Unique Features
Custom Papers Means Custom Papers
This is what custom writing means to us: Your essay starts from scratch. Plagiarism is unacceptable. We demand the originality of our academic essay writers and they only deliver authentic and original papers. 100% guaranteed! If your final version is not as expected, we will revise it immediately.
Qualified and Experienced Essay Writers
Our team consists of carefully selected writers with in-depth expertise. Each writer in our team is selected based on their writing skills and experience. Each team member is able to provide plagiarism-free, authentic and high-quality content within a short turnaround time.
Free Unlimited Revisions
If you think we missed something, send your order for a free revision. You have 10 days to submit the order for review after you have received the final document. You can do this yourself after logging into your personal account or by contacting our support.
Prompt Delivery and 100% Assuarance
We understand you. Spending your hard earned money on a writing service is a big deal. It is a big investment and it is difficult to make the decision. That is why we support our claims with guarantees. We want you to be reassured as soon as you place your order. Here are our guarantees: Your deadlines are important to us. When ordering, please note that delivery will take place no later than the expiry date.
100% Originality & Confidentiality
Every paper we write for every order is 100% original. To support this, we would be happy to provide you with a plagiarism analysis report on request.We use several writing tools checks to ensure that all documents you receive are free from plagiarism. Our editors carefully review all quotations in the text. We also promise maximum confidentiality in all of our services.
24/7 Customer Support
We help students, business professionals and job seekers around the world in multiple time zones. We also understand that students often keep crazy schedules. No problem. We are there for you around the clock. If you need help at any time, please contact us. An agent is always available for you.
Try it now!
How it works?
Follow these simple steps to get your paper done
Place your order
Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.
Proceed with the payment
Choose the payment system that suits you most.
Receive the final file
Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.
Our services are second to none. Every time you place an order, you get a personal and original paper of the highest quality.
While a college paper is the most common order we receive, we want you to understand that we have college writers for virtually everything, including: High school and college essays Papers, book reviews, case studies, lab reports, tests All graduate level projects, including theses and dissertations Admissions and scholarship essays Resumes and CV’s Web content, copywriting, blogs, articles Business writing – reports, marketing material, white papers Research and data collection/analysis of any type.
Any Kind of Essay Writing!
Whether you are a high school student struggling with writing five-paragraph essays, an undergraduate management student stressing over a research paper, or a graduate student in the middle of a thesis or dissertation, homeworkmarketpro.com has a writer for you. We can also provide admissions or scholarship essays, a resume or CV, as well as web content or articles. Writing an essay for college admission takes a certain kind of writer. They have to be knowledgeable about your subject and be able to grasp the purpose of the essay.
Quality Check and Editing Support
Every paper is subject to a strict editorial and revision process. This is to ensure that your document is complete and accurate and that all of your instructions have been followed carefully including creating reference lists in the formats APA, Harvard, MLA, Chicago / Turabian.
Prices and Discounts
We are happy to say that we offer some of the most competitive prices in this industry. Since many of our customers are students, job seekers and small entrepreneurs, we know that money is a problem. Therefore, you will find better prices with us compared to writing services of this calibre.