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Plastic is a long term waste problem, with huge quantities being introduced annually into valuable landfill space, degrading slowly and contaminating the surrounding area.


A study has been undertaken on our behalf on the impact comparrison in relation to Carbon emissions from landfill disposal, recycling and resurfacing of end of life boards - this study has demonstrated that resurfacing only 5 of the smallest chopping boards only once reduces related carbon emmissions by 70%, resurface bigger boards, or more boards on a single service visit and this figure climbs dramatically.

Carbon Impact of Resurfacing Chopping Boards ©


The aim of this study is to provide accurate and useful information about the environmental benefits of reuse and remanufacturing, specifically the reuse of catering chopping boards through resurfacing. The resurfacing of chopping boards has recently been commercially established in the UK by Chopping Board Services. This document briefly outlines the potential environmental impact of making chopping board reuse possible, and how these figures were calculated. Environmental impacts have been measured by performing Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) with different end-of-use scenarios to model currently occurring practices. These assessments output a carbon footprint, allowing comparison of the environmental impact of each of these scenarios, and any potential benefits of reuse to be determined.


An LCA of a standard catering chopping board was performed using the SimaPro software package. Standard information was used for the manufacture and distribution of chopping boards, this was used in conjunction with 3 different end-of-use scenarios; waste, recycling and resurfacing. This information was used to calculate the different carbon footprints for each scenario, providing a consistent measure of their environmental impact.

Standard Model

The following information has been used as the basis for all three chopping board LCA models; A standard size high density polyethylene (HDPE) chopping board is modelled, with dimensions of 18”x12”x ½”, weighing 1.7kg. Figures quoted refer to a single chopping board of this size. Chopping boards are originally produced in Taiwan from virgin HDPE, and manufactured using thermo-moulding and pressing techniques. Chopping boards are transported by ship from Taiwan to the UK via a standard shipping route. Local distribution occurs through a supply chain of lorries and vans, with standard distances defined for each trip type. Any impact in the use phase is omitted as new and resurfaced boards are anticipated to perform identically. Chopping boards may be treated in 3 ways at end of use, (outlined below). The LCA was conducted using SimaPro software with relevant databases. The output used was a carbon footprint, which standardises the impact in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) over 100 years.

End-of-Use Scenarios

Three different end-of-use scenarios have been modelled, using the standard information as described above.

    1. Waste – The chopping board enters the typical UK waste stream where approximately 85% is sent to landfill the remaining 15% is incinerated.
    2. Recycling (best case) – The chopping board is recycled in the UK, with the recycled plastic used to produce a similar product. Other recycling scenarios exist, such as recycling in China, however this represented the lowest overall impact.
    3. Resurfacing – The chopping board is resurfaced using specialist mobile machinery, and then it is reused as if new. In this model resurfacing only occurs once, however, further cycles are possible. At end of use all material is assumed to be recycling following the same parameters as above. This model haves been generated from information provided by Chopping Board Resurfacing.


The results from these LCAs indicate that resurfacing a chopping board significantly reduces its carbon impact compared to both waste and recycling routes.

The carbon footprint of a single 1.7 kg chopping board sent to normal waste was calculated to be 5.28 kgCO2e. Of this, 4.43 kgCO2e is associated with manufacture and distribution, the remainder is produced by disposal. Recycling reduces the total footprint to 3.04 kgCO2e. This figure is lower than the manufacturing value as the recycled HDPE produces a positive contribution to the carbon footprint by removing virgin HDPE from the lifecycle.

The resurfacing scenario improves this further. The overall carbon footprint was found to be 3.19 kgCO2e. However, this figure represents 2 normal lifecycles; an initial manufacture and use cycle, followed by resurfacing, further use and recycling. Therefore, this value should be compared with twice the values for the other scenarios (i.e. 10.56 kgCO2e for waste and 8.86 kgCO2e for recycling). Compared to the normal waste model the carbon footprint for the resurfaced board is reduced by around two thirds, and almost halved when compared to the recycled board. Again the reuse of materials is beneficial to the carbon footprint; however the lower impact associated with resurfacing compared to recycling means there are greater benefits for the resurfaced product.


It is clear that resurfacing chopping boards undertaken using the techniques developed by Chopping Board Services presents an opportunity to significantly reduce the carbon impact associated with catering chopping boards. Although the savings are quite low on an individual basis, applied to all chopping boards the potential carbon savings are large.

The majority of the carbon footprint associated with chopping boards occurs from their manufacture and distribution. Resurfacing reduces this by removing the need to produce and distribute one board per resurfacing cycle. The benefits of this are clearly demonstrated by the results above. This model only incorporates one resurfacing cycle, and greater benefits are likely to occur if this process can be performed multiple times on one board. It should be mentioned that this model still requires some refinement in order to be completely accurate, however these small improvements will not significantly change the calculated carbon footprints.

These figures also demonstrate the benefits that reuse and remanufacturing can bring by saving raw materials and energy, as well as reducing the waste and the carbon footprint associated with products.


Don't Replace. Resurface.™