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Ex-ante LCA to early-on improve sustainability

The challenge

Rik Makes has developed a sustainable building material called Compostboard. This innovative sheet material is made from natural residual streams, such as hemp, flax, and bell pepper plant fibers. The goal was to create a material that is not only functional as a construction panel or piece of furniture but also fully biodegradable after use. An additional sustainable feature is that its components can enrich the soil.

As part of the bio-based scaling project of het Woningbouwaterlier in the Natural Pavilion, we conducted an ex-ante LCA (a life cycle assessment of a product still in development; with these early insights, you can then adjust the production process).

The approach

Hedgehog Company performed an ex-ante life cycle assessment(LCA) with the aim of promoting sustainable scaling in the early stages by providing insights into potential environmental impact and improvement opportunities.

The result

Rik Makes now knows that a significant portion of the impact arises in the production phase of the binder. By using alternative binders from residual streams, the impact of Compostboard can be reduced. The ECI (Environmental Cost Indicator) of Compostboard with an alternative binder amounts to €1.60. Moreover, a scaled-up production process with green energy could yield significant efficiency gains.

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"When working with new materials, we encounter several challenges, with finding the right specifications being crucial. This includes aspects like quality and lifespan, as well as sustainability. By using an ex-ante LCA, we gained valuable insights that enable us to scale our product with minimal environmental impact."
Rik Maarsen
Founder RikMakes
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