01.01.2010 – 01.06.2013

Funded by

Programme LIFE+ European Commission


‘FENIX – Giving Packaging a New Life’ is a 39-month project funded by the European Union’s LIFE+ Programme from 2010 to 2013 which aimed at at developing an ad-hoc flexible and user-friendly software tool based on high-quality technical and scientific data for evaluating alternative scenarios for the management of post-consumer packaging waste, enabling the selection of more environmentally sound waste management practices. The new FENIX tool assists Spanish and Portuguese local municipalities and waste management entities in the decision-making for performing more eco-efficient and sustainable management of packaging waste. This tool uses a life cycle thinking (LCT) approach by incorporating the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology.

Users of the FENIX tool can introduce and modify a large number of parameters, such as km travelled, selection between different collection and treatment options, plant efficiency, etc. to adapt the models created in the tool to their real situation. Up to three different and independent waste management scenarios can be compared at the same time.

The FENIX consortium has 4 partners from 3 European countries. In addition, 13 collaborating institutions from technological centers and Universities have closely collaborated in gathering and modeling data and technologies. Independent experts have also been involved in key phases of the project.


Partners: Cátedra UNESCO de Ciclo de Vida y Cambio Climático (coordinador, España), Ecomebes (España), Sociedade Pontoverde (Portugal), PE International (Alemania).

 In addition, 13 collaborating institutions from technological centers and Universities have closely collaborated in gathering and modeling data and technologies. Independent experts have also been involved in key phases of the project: Universidad San Jorge (España), Universidad de Cantabria (SOSPROCAN, España), Centro Tecnológico de Miranda de Ebro (España), Escola d'Engineyeria d'Igualada (UPC, España), Instituto Tecnológico Metalmecánico (AIMME, España), Instituto Tecnológico del Mueble, Madera, Embalaje y Afines (AIDIMA, España), Instituto Tecnológico del Plástico (AIMPLAS, España), Universidad de Santiago (USC, España), Instituto Andaluz de Tecnología (IAT, España), Cátedra Ecoembes de Medio Ambiente de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM, España), Universidad de Tras- os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD, España), Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia (LNEG, Portugal), Climate Change Research Group (CCIAM, Portugal), Universidad Católica Portuguesa (Portugal)


Language: English, Spanish, Portuguese


Its main objective is developed into the following specific objectives:

  • To create a user-friendly and flexible tool for easily obtaining environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) results of packaging waste management alternatives.
  • To show the usefulness of LCA to help public authorities in different aspects related to waste management issues.
  • To share the knowledge outcomes among other Spanish and Portuguese institutions (universities, technical institutes, etc.) aiming at facilitating the establishment on an Iberian network of experts on LCA and waste management.
  • To compile a specific database and parametrized models on waste treatment and recycling technologies, for Spain and Portugal. The database format is compatible with the European reference Life Cycle Database (ELCD) and/or the International reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) and will be available for free to LCA practitioners.
  • To create and adapt the new software to the user’s real needs.
  • To transfer the results to other European regions, in particular, the applicability of the project will be tested in Federal Czech Republic.



Actions that have been carried out during the 39 months of the project have been organized as follows:

  • Analysis of the current and future legal framework of waste management within Europe, with a special focus on Spain and Portugal.
  • Identification of user´s requirements by developing and submitting a questionnaire (after having interviewed experts on LCA software development and waste management) answered by 440 Management Units (MU) of Spain and all the MU of Portugal (34).
  • Analysis of the different packaging waste management options within the area of the study.
  • Assessment of the state of the art in the development of LCA based software tools to help decision-makers with waste management options in other countries.
  • Identification of the best database format for environmental inventory data collection.
  • Definition of the technical requirements for the database and the software.
  • Critical reviewed of the technical requirements for the database and the software.
  • Identification and allocation of responsabilities among collaborators according to their experience in LCA and/or waste management. In total, 13 collaborators from 8 regions of Spain and 3 from Portugal were selected.
  • Training (basic and advanced) on GaBI modelling and on data collection to the collaborators.
  • Data search and development of the Life Cycle Inventory Reports by the collaborators.
  • Modelling of technologies and processes in Gabi 4.0.
  • Development of economic and social
  • Critical review of Life Cycle Inventories.
  • Development of the first beta version of the tool.
  • Training and pilot test of the tool in different municipalities, which were coordinated by the
  • Eixo-Atlántico1 and the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP). In total,10 Spanish and 5 Portuguese municipalities participated.
  • Analysing the state of the art of waste management practices is the Federal Czech Republic to study its transferability.
  • Critical revision of the final version of the software by external international experts.
  • Development of the final version of the software, translation into Spanish and Portuguese and development of a maintenance plan.
  • Development of a training, communication and dissemination strategy.



Results and conclusions

  1. The FENIX tool: a comprehensive on-line tool for evaluating packaging waste management options in Spain and Portugal

It is an ad-hoc software tool for evaluating alternative scenarios for the management of post-consumer packaging waste, enabling the selection of more sustainable waste management practices, in accordance with the current European policy principles.

Access to the tool is web-based at http://www.life-fenix.eu, free of charge upon request and it´s possible to choose amongst one of the three languages available: English, Spanish and Portuguese. Two categories of users (basic and advanced) are pre-defined, enabling access to increasing levels of model complexity.

  1. Database of waste management technologies

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


Publications and additional information

See After LIFE + Communication Plan for the technical and scientific papers published during the project, posters and conferences where FENIX was presented:


  • Camba, A., González-García, S., Bala, A., Fullana-i-Palmer, P., Moreira, M. T., & Feijoo, G. (2014). Modeling the leachate flow and aggregated emissions from municipal waste landfills under life cycle thinking in the Oceanic region of the Iberian Peninsula. Journal of Cleaner Production, 67, 98-106.

  • Gala, A. B., Leao, S., & Fullana, P. (2014). FENIX, un proyecto para el desarrollo del Análisis del Ciclo de Vida (ACV) en la gestión de envases en España y Portugal. Retema: Revista técnica de medio ambiente, 27(179), 2-3.
  • Lehmann, A., Russi, D., Bala, A., Finkbeiner, M., & Fullana-i-Palmer, P. (2011). Integration of social aspects in decision support, based on life cycle thinking. Sustainability, 3(4), 562-577.

  • Margallo, M., Dominguez-Ramos, A., Aldaco, R., Bala, A., Fullana, P., & Irabien, A. (2014). Environmental sustainability assessment in the process industry: A case study of waste-to-energy plants in Spain. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 93, 144-155.

  • Margallo, M., Aldaco, R., Irabien, A., Carrillo, V., Fischer, M., Bala, A., & Fullana, P. (2014). Life cycle assessment modelling of waste-to-energy incineration in Spain and Portugal. Waste Management & Research, 32(6), 492-499.

  • Margallo, M., Aldaco, R., Bala, A., Fullana, P., & Irabien, Á. (2012). Best available techniques in municipal solid waste incineration: state of the art in Spain and Portugal. CHEMICAL ENGINEERING, 29.

  • Nora Torre Bachelor Thesis (Ruben Aldaco, supervisor, Universidad de Cantabria): Life Cycle Assessment and economic study of a Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) incineration plant (in Spanish)

Related projects


Follow us on Social Media!

tw logo        linkedin logo_initials