EcoCover: GHG Emissions
and Carbon Sequestration

EcoCover is a sustainable mulch mat made primarily from recycled materials. It is primarily used when establishing trees in domestic or public gardens, when landscaping, or engaging in conservation activities. EcoCover has a large NZ customer base who wish to adhere to their own sustainability practices. Their international customers are often responding to increasingly stringent ‘green protocols’ where they are being used in development projects funded by agencies such as the Asian Development Bank and World Bank. These rapidly developing compliance protocols provide EcoCover with a unique selling position if they can prove they comply.


The Solution

LCA or Life Cycle Assessment is a technique or decision support tool used to assess the environmental impact of a service or product such as EcoCover.

Three economic forces often drive the need for an LCA:

  • Businesses are now participating voluntarily in initiatives involving LCA;
  • Worldwide, government regulations are moving towards life cycle accountability. This being the concept that the manufacturer is responsible for direct product impacts and those associated with product inputs, use, transport and disposal;
  • Environmental performance is a criterion in many consumer markets and government procurement guidelines.

These developments have placed LCA in a central role as a tool for identifying impacts of products (and the materials from which they’re made) from “cradle to grave”. A partial LCA developed specifically for EcoCover provided accurate information that enhanced the product description on their website and boosted EcoCover’s sales potential especially internationally.

The Process

The partial LCA involved:

  • Preparing an inventory of energy inputs, materials, and environmental releases. This included the components of brown paper, white recycled paper, and a composition of glues; together with manufacturing, packaging and transport of the EcoCover Mulch Mat,
  • The first environmental impact categories studied were resource use (total primary energy) and greenhouse gas emissions (carbon footprint).
  • Results were compared and interpreted in order to make a more informed decision regarding environmental impacts.For numerous reasons direct product comparisons are seldom conducted.However, based on existing publically available literature the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of black agricultural film (extruded) and bulk woody/chip blend were included in the study. While a direct comparison cannot be made it helped to add context for use internally.


EcoCover was shown to be ‘the responsible choice’ when it came to purchasing weed suppressant products, reducing landfills, conserving water and removing plastic from the landscape and landfills. The life cycle assessment provided valuable additional information regarding the products sustainability so that EcoCover’s clients in New Zealand and overseas could make informed choices.

About Agrilink

Agrilink provides consultancy services to individual clients and their industry organisations to optimise resource-use efficiency through the development and implementation of practical solutions. Agrilink applies this knowledge to our project management of large multi-stakeholder projects.

Agrilink has the most comprehensive resource-use inventory of New Zealand’s primary production systems. By combining this with our life-cycle thinking strategies, we focus on improving business profitability for our clients and partnering with them to create a better world.

The process of conducting a LCA changed our thinking to be more supply chain orientated