FENIX - Finding regional environmental life cycle information on packaging waste management through flexible software tools and databases

LIFE08 ENV/E/000135

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Contact details:

Contact person: Pere FULLANA
Tel: +34 93 2954710+325
Fax: +34-93-29554720
Email: Pere.fullana@esci.es

Project description:


Some 35% of municipal waste by weight comes from packaging. Article 7 of the EU Waste Directive (94/62/CE), however, obliges Member States to create systems for the recovery of waste packaging with the view to adopting best waste treatment options. The raw material used, energy consumption and emissions during packaging production are quantitatively comparable to the amounts consumed and emitted during the recycling of waste packaging materials. To obtain raw materials from waste recycling, it is necessary to collect, transport, classify and finally process them, and this requires the consumption of water, energy and additional materials. Thus the environmental benefits of selective collection and recycling must be weighed against resource consumption and pollution.


The main objective of the FENIX project was to create a user-friendly and flexible tool for easily obtaining environmental lifecycle assessment (LCA) results on packaging waste management. The tool would also take into account economic and social factors and would be adaptable to different conditions across Europe. The software tool would also be specially designed to assist local and regional waste managers from Spain and Portugal to look for more eco-efficient and sustainable solutions for packaging waste management. Specifically, the project aimed to:

  • Show the usefulness of LCA in helping public authorities tackle waste management issues;
  • Transfer knowledge to other Spanish and Portuguese institutions (universities, technical institutes, etc.) in order to facilitate the establishment of an Iberian network of experts on LCA and waste management;
  • Compile updated data about waste treatment and recycling technologies, and create parameterised models for each one. Data gathered within the project would be compiled in a database format compatible with the European Life Cycle Database (ELCD) and/or the International Life Cycle Database (ILCD) and available for free to LCA practitioners.
  • These data would also be included in the new software;

  • Take into account the real needs of users by answering daily work questions about waste management and sustainability issues while developing the software; and
  • Disseminate its results via publications and conference presentations or posters.

  • Results

    The FENIX project demonstrated how to establish and implement an easy, user-friendly and flexible software tool for assisting municipalities and other territorial organisations in Spain and Portugal in the carrying out greener management of packaging waste. The tool developed uses a life cycle thinking (LCT) approach by incorporating the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. Users of this tool will be able to change some parameters in order to adapt the model to their own situation in order to obtain scientifically robust and quick results. Moreover, the tool is sufficiently simple for non-LCA experts to use.

    A specific database on waste treatment processes and recycling technologies, which is integrated in the software, was also developed. The database is compatible with the International Life Cycle Database (ILCD), a common format for the exchange of inventory data among different LCA software tools and practitioners, which is promoted by the European Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy.

    The FENIX tool can facilitate the decision-making of packaging waste managers from a life cycle perspective. Users can change a range of parameters including: amount of waste generated; type of truck used for the transport; number of containers; distance between containers; distance between the municipality and the treatment plant; percentages allocated to each treatment (selection, incineration, landfill, etc.), and the efficiencies in sorting plants.

    Data and models included in the tool have been gathered and created during the project and are representative of the Spanish and Portuguese technological situation. Training and pilot tests of the tool were carried out in 10 Spanish and five Portuguese municipalities and critical reviews of the technical requirements for the database and the software were performed by 13 partners experienced in LCA and/or waste management from eight regions of Spain and three from Portugal.

    An Iberian network of three partners and 13 collaborating institutions (universities and technological institutes) trained on LCA and waste management was established in order to spread knowledge on these topics. The network planned to continue working together on these topics after the end of the project.

    The tool is available free of charge from the project's website in English, Portuguese and Spanish. The project produced a user manual and a video to provide the necessary guidance regarding its use. The FENIX tool can help municipalities to comply with EU targets on collection and recycling, in order to achieve the EU’s aim of creating a ‘recycling society’.

    The FENIX model could be adapted to other European countries with minor adaptations and at no major cost. The main advantages of FENIX tool over other existing tools are:

    • The use of data from first-hand research on waste management processes and technologies representative of those currently implemented in Spain and Portugal;
    • The development of sub-models for each and every phase of the waste management system: (1) waste collection by truck and associated truck model;(2) pneumatic waste collection; (3) waste containers; (4) transference plants; (5) MSW selection plants; (6) packaging waste selection plants; (7) metal recycling; (8) plastics recycling; (9) paper and cardboard recycling; (10) glass recycling; (11) landfilling; (12) incineration; (13) combustion in cement kilns;
    • Flexible waste collection by truck and associated truck model that improves predictive capabilities;
    • Improvement of landfilling, incineration and combustion in cement kiln models;
    • A rigorous and consistent approach to the assessment of the avoided impacts due to all energy recovery and material recycling processes.

    Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Environmental management - Life Cycle Assessment-Management
Information - Governance - Environmental training - Capacity building
Waste - Packaging and plastic waste


waste management‚  decision making support‚  packaging‚  life-cycle management

Target EU Legislation

  • Waste
  • Directive 75/442/EEC -"Waste framework directive" (15.07.1975)
  • Directive 94/62 - Packaging and packaging waste (20.12.1994)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Escola Superior de Comerç Internacional
Type of organisation University
Description The Escola Superior de Comerç Internacional (ESCI) is a public university centre with expertise in international business and marketing, in social responsibility and, through its UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change, in integrated product policy and lifecycle management issues.
Partners Ponto Verde, Portugal PE International, Germany ECOEMBES, Spain


Project reference LIFE08 ENV/E/000135
Duration 01-JAN-2010 to 31-MAR -2013
Total budget 2,357,790.00 €
EU contribution 1,174,395.00 €
Project location Baden-Württemberg(Deutschland) Galicia(España) Cantabria(España) Aragón(España) Castilla-León(España) Cataluña(España) Comunidad Valenciana(España) Norte(Portugal) Lisboa e vale do Tejo(Portugal)


Read more:

Leaflet "FENIX - Giving Packaging a New Life - Finding reg ...
Leaflet "FENIX - Giving Packaging a New Life: Finding regi ...
Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Spanish version)
Publication: Layman report Layman report


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version