Environmental consequences of using alternative protein sources in pig diets

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Abstract

Feed production is responsible for the majority of the environmental impact of livestock production, especially for monogastric animals, such as pigs. Several studies demonstrated that replacing soybean meal (SBM) with alternative protein sources, such as locally produced peas or rapeseed meal, potentially reduces the environmental impact of pork production. These studies, however, used an attributional life cycle assessment (ALCA), which solely addresses the direct environmental impact of a product. A replacement of SBM with alternative protein sources, however, can also have indirect environmental consequences, e.g. impacts related to replacing the original function of the alternative protein source. Accounting for indirect environmental consequences in a consequential life cycle assessment (CLCA) might change environmental benefits of using alternative protein sources. This study aims to explore differences in results when performing an ALCA and a CLCA to reduce the environmental impact of pig production. We illustrated this for two case studies: replacing SBM with rapeseed meal (RSM), and replacing SBM with waste-fed larvae meal in diets of finishing-pigs. We used an ALCA and CLCA to assess global warming potential (GWP), energy use (EU) and land use (LU) of replacing SBM with RSM and waste-fed larvae meal, for finishing-pigs. The functional unit was one kg of body weight gain. Based on an ALCA, replacing SBM with RSM showed that GWP hardly changed (3%), EU hardly changed (1%), but LU was decreased (14%). ALCA results for replacing SBM with waste-fed larvae meal showed that EU hardly changed (1%), but GWP (10%) and LU (56%) were decreased. Based on a CLCA, replacing SBM with RSM showed an increased GWP (15%), EU (12%), and LU (10%). Replacing SBM with waste-fed larvae meal showed an increased GWP (60%) and EU (89%), but LU (70%) was decreased. The CLCA results were contradictory compared with the ALCA results. CLCA results for both case studies showed that using co-products and waste-fed larvae meal not reduces the net environmental impact of pork production. This would have been overlooked when results were only based on ALCA.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts of the 10th international conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event10th international conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 19 Oct 201621 Oct 2016

Conference

Conference10th international conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food
CountryIreland
CityDublin
Period19/10/1621/10/16

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Keywords

  • consequential life cycle assessment, attributional LCA, pigs, insects, soybean meal, rapeseed meal, feed

Cite this

van Zanten, H. H. E., Bikker, P., Meerburg, B. G., & de Boer, I. J. M. (2016). Environmental consequences of using alternative protein sources in pig diets. In Book of Abstracts of the 10th international conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food [138]