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Life cycle stages

Production

recolte

Harvest

This first life cycle stage includes the various production activities taking place at peat harvesting sites on peatlands. The production stage takes account of equipment and machinery operation, access roads construction, site drainage, ground surface preparation, vacuum harvesting and site closure operations at the end of the production cycle. Transportation between the harvesting site and the conditioning plant is also included.

Conditioning

emballage

 

Packaging

Conditioning includes the various activities that take place at the plant, after harvesting. It includes the equipment, infrastructure and energy required for conditioning peat. After sifting, mixing with other components, compression and packaging of the peat generally occurs. The infrastructure and energy associated with the operation of administrative buildings are also taken into account in this stage.

Distribution

transport

Transport

The distribution stage includes transportation operations from conditioning plants to final buyer markets or distribution centers (shipment lots, wholesale outlets or retailers).

Use (excluded)

culture-des-vegetaux

Plant growth

As already noted, it is difficult to separate distinct processes and their environmental effects that are associated with peat from other components of plant growth. Therefore, the following were not taken into account: all resource consumption and waste production resulting from horticulture activities at the greenhouse or garden (namely, greenhouse space heating and air humidification, watering and fertilization).

End of life

fin-de-vie

In soil

While peat contributes to plant growth in a greenhouse or garden, it keeps on decomposing within the substrate. Peat’s degradation at end of life is associated with air contact and interaction with other substrate constituents. This process produces carbon dioxide (CO2). An aerobic degradation (degradation in the presence of oxygen) is assumed.

In situ decomposition

decomposition

Oxidation

Peat decomposition at the harvesting site itself (peatland) is not a life cycle stage in itself. Once a peatland is opened (after drainage), its peat is exposed to the air. A portion of the peatland’s carbon hence oxidizes and is emitted into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2). Draining the peatland modifies its greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes; there is a reduction in methane (CH4) production and an increase in CO2 emissions, resulting in a net positive GHG emission. The site’s GHG fluxes may return to a carbon accumulation dynamic similar to the one that existed before harvesting if the peatland is successfully restored at the end of the production cycle.


Breakdown of environmental impacts among the various life cycle stages for 1m3 of non-compressed peat

sante-humaine

This indicator quantifies the potential carcinogenic effects of or potential chronic illnesses (res-piratory effects) associated with emissions of various substances into the environment, as well as any potential increase in ionizing radiation levels or ultraviolet rays (UV-B). The impact of a substance on human health is quantified via the total number of life years potentially lost in the human population by means of the DALY scale (Disability Adjusted Life Years).

Unit DALY
In situ decomposition ** 0%
-6,6E-10
Harvest 27%
5,9E-06
Packaging 6%
1,4E-06
Transport 67%
1,5E-05
End of life (in soil) 0%
0,00
Total impact* 100%
2,2E-05

* Including the decomposition in situ (harvesting site)

** Peat oxidation from the opening of the harvesting site until its restoration, considering that 50% of the sites are restored after the production cycle and 50% are rehabilitated.

qualite-ecosystemes

This indicator measures the effects of anthropogenic activities on the development of species within their natural habitats. The potential impact of a human activity on the quality of ecosystems is quantified in Potential Disappeared Fractions (PDF) of habitat over a land area (in square meters (m²)), within a certain time horizon (one year). The quantifying scale is thus PDF-m²-year.

Unit PDF*m2*yr
In situ decomposition ** 0%
0,00
Harvest 10%
0,67
Packaging 9%
0,59
Transport 81%
5,28
End of life (in soil) 0%
0,00
Total impact* 100%
6,55

* Including the decomposition in situ (harvesting site)

** Peat oxidation from the opening of the harvesting site until its restoration, considering that 50% of the sites are restored after the production cycle and 50% are rehabilitated.

changement-climatique

The global warming potential of various greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted into the air through human activities depends on each substance’s capacity to absorb thermal energy (heat) from the sun and retain it within the earth’s atmosphere. This is called the radiative forcing effect of a GHG. The greater a GHG’s radiative forcing effect, the greater its potential for global warming, and the greater its potential contribution to climate deregulation. The potential impact of a substance on Climate Change potential is calculated by means of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) models. The substance is quantified in kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents (kg CO2 eq.) within a time horizon of 500 years.

Unit kg CO2 eq
In situ decomposition ** 23%
60,79
Harvest 2%
4,03
Packaging 1%
2,53
Transport 6%
15,63
End of life (in soil) 69%
183,00
Total impact* 100%
265,97

* Including the decomposition in situ (harvesting site)

** Peat oxidation from the opening of the harvesting site until its restoration, considering that 50% of the sites are restored after the production cycle and 50% are rehabilitated.

ressources

This indicator quantifies the potential use of nonrenewable resources (that cannot be renewed within a 100-year time frame) and minerals associated with a human activity or product. The extraction and processing of raw materials, product fabrication or factory operations, transportation activities associated with a product, its use or its disposal at end of its life are all activities dependent upon access to non-renewable resources. The Resources use indicator is quantified in megajoules of primary energy (MJ primary).

Unit MJ primary
In situ decomposition ** 19%
326,70
Harvest 61%
1041,81
Packaging 4%
71,46
Transport 15%
261,88
End of life (in soil) 0%
0,00
Total impact* 100%
1701,85

* Including the decomposition in situ (harvesting site)

** Peat oxidation from the opening of the harvesting site until its restoration, considering that 50% of the sites are restored after the production cycle and 50% are rehabilitated.

acidification-aqua

This indicator refers to processes that increase the acidity in aquatic systems. This may lead to declines in fish populations and disappearances of species. Substances responsible for aquatic acidification, such as airborne nitrogen (NOx and NH3) and sulfur oxides (SOx), are mainly emitted by heavy oil and coal combustion for electricity production. They are also emitted by road traffic. This indicator is quantified in kg of SO2 equivalent.

Unit kg SO2 eq
In situ decomposition ** 0%
0,00
Harvest 25%
0,04
Packaging 6%
0,01
Transport 68%
0,10
End of life (in soil) 0%
0,00
Total impact* 100%
0,1

* Including the decomposition in situ (harvesting site)

** Peat oxidation from the opening of the harvesting site until its restoration, considering that 50% of the sites are restored after the production cycle and 50% are rehabilitated.

eutrophisation-aqua

This indicator measures the potential of nutrient enrichment of an aquatic environment (quantified in kg equivalent PO4 3– considering that phosphorus is the limited factor in water “kg PO4 P-lim”). Such enrichment causes biomass growth and in turn unbalances ecosystem populations: decreases in oxygen may lead to to fish kills and disappearance of bottom fauna. Nutrients responsible for aquatic eutrophication mainly come from phosphorus and nitrogen compounds found in detergents and fertilizers.

Unit kg PO4-P lim
In situ decomposition ** 0%
0,00
Harvest 24%
3,0E-04
Packaging 4%
5,0E-05
Transport 72%
9,2E-04
End of life (in soil) 0%
0,00
Total impact* 100%
1,3E-03

* Including the decomposition in situ (harvesting site)

** Peat oxidation from the opening of the harvesting site until its restoration, considering that 50% of the sites are restored after the production cycle and 50% are rehabilitated.