Publication of the first Life Cycle Assessment results carried out by PDL Cigarette Papers

PDL Cigarette Papers announces the publication of its results from their first Life Cycle Assessment – LCA – carried out on 18 gsm verge which is one of its cigarette papers manufactured for the Roll Your Own market.

Carried out during the first quarter of 2012 together with PwC and in accordance with ISO 14040 and 14044 standards, this first assessment represents a double positive for PDL Cigarette Papers.

First of all, thanks to this analysis, PDL Cigarette Papers  now has at its disposition a complete database which will allow to become autonomous in performing Life Cycle Assessments for other cigarette paper grades.

Secondly we are now able to implement an eco-design process for our products, which should allow as to optimize both the process and the product from an environmental perspective. In this regard, by identifying the various stages of the Life Cycle Assessment for RYO cigarette papers “from cradle to gate”, namely from the  extraction of resources to customer delivery, and then for each of these by evaluating their environmental impact, PDL Cigarette Papers now knows which factors should be promoted to reduce its environmental footprint. This could, for example, be translated into a rigorous selection process of raw materials and their suppliers. Indeed, according to the analysis, it is the pulp production stage, whether textile or wood, which appears to have the greatest impact on almost all of the 13 indicators considered in the assessment. The paper production stage is not negligable either. However, steps linked to converting, packaging and transportation – whatever the location – have a lower impact.

In accordance with the requirements of ISO 14044, sensitivity tests have been carried out in order to study the influence of some hypothesis on the study results.

The paper grade subject to the Lifecycle Assessment is composed of a textile pulp mix (or « rag ») – the majority of which is produced at our pulp mill – and wood pulp.

The operational unit used in the framework of the study is « to provide 1 sqm of cigarette paper with the recommended performances and characteristics ». The choice of a surface area for the operational unit allows a description of the functionality of a cigarette paper, that is, its ability to be smoked. That is why the most important consideration is the paper surface and not its weight.

According to the framework « from cradle to gate » (from the beginning of the process to delivery at the customer), as we do not dispose of any data concerning « the production of booklets and their final use (destruction) », the impact evaluation has been focused on the following steps:

  • Production of textile pulp (also called rag) (including production and transportation of raw materials)
  • Production of wood pulp (including production and transportation of raw materials)
  • Production of raw materials other than pulp (minerals and chemical products)
  • Production of cigarette paper in mother reels
  • Converting of cigarette paper into smaller rolls, packaging and transportation of rolls to the customer’s factory

Focus has also been put on the following 13 indicators:

  • total primary energy consumption
  • exhaustion of natural non renewable resources
  • greenhouse gas emissions coming from fossil fuels (direct,100 years)
  • quantity of non replanted wood
  • greenhouse gas emissions coming from fossil fuels and non renewable biomass
  • level of acidity in the air
  • water use
  • net water consumption
  • water eutrophication
  • emission of suspended solids (MES)
  • emission of adsorbable organic halides
  • chemical oxygen demand (COD)
  • production of ultimate waste


The findings of the LCA on 18g verge paper are as follows:

  • The production of paper pulp is the stage with the heaviest impact on almost all of the indicators studied (30 to 90% of the total impact).
  • The manufacturing phase has a significant impact on the greenhouse effect indicators, consumption of raw materials, production of waste and extraction of water.
  • The production of the other raw materials has little impact.
  • The packaging and transport phase is negligible, due to damaged products being managed in an internal loop and packaging waste being managed.

Therefore, in order to improve the environmental profile of our cigarette papers, we have developed an action plan including the implementation and/or continuation of the following processes:

  • optimisation of cooking process and bleaching in our pulp plant,
  • selection of the most “virtuous” suppliers,
  • promotion of energy obtained from renewable resources with, principally, the start-up of the biomass boiler on the PDL site and the construction of PDV’s, the site where cigarette papers are processed and packaged,
  • continuation of our “eco-leak” programme,
  • our participation in the “Équilibre” project intended to reduce CO2 emissions related to  transport.

For PDL Cigarette Papers, the environment is an ever-present concern which is taken into account in all of its everyday actions and decisions.