This study presents detailed and comprehensive inventories on the horticultural production of tomato using compost (CM) or mineral fertilizers (M), in both open-fields (OF) and greenhouses (GH), providing information on the environmental impacts and assessing the agronomic viability of the four cultivation options. Life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to calculate the potential environmental impacts of the tomato production cycle per ton of product. The stages in the assessment included: mineral and organic fertilizers production, fertilizers transport, cultivation stage and greenhouse stage. The data were obtained experimentally in pilot fields and in an industrial composting facility using municipal organic waste, both located in the Mediterranean area. The results indicate that replacing a fraction of the mineral fertilizers dosage with compost is a good option, as this did not alter yield or fruit size parameters. Greenhouse protection increased infrastructure materials requirements but enhanced harvest by almost 50% and reduced the water and pesticides requirement. Compost production and greenhouse stages were the most impacting stages. Without subtracting the avoided burdens by composting and not dumping organic waste, the cultivation option OF-M had the lowest and OF-CM the highest impact. When avoided burdens were taken into consideration, the environmental impacts of the four cultivation options varied, depending on the impact category, with bigger differences due to fertilization as a variable rather than the production system. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Composting process
- Environmental impacts
- Food production
- Horticulture technologies
- Organic fraction of municipal solid waste