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12 Estimating the Environmental Impact of Products: Life Cycle Assessment

Data collection Defining the calculation processes Creating an inventory table Data sensibility, variability and uncertainty analysis Defining voluntary oversights And finally the allocation procedures are defined, that are related to:

• Co-products • End-of-life treatment processes • Recycling 12.2.2.3 Life Cycle Impact Assessment This is divided into four subsequent sub-stages: • • • •

Classification Characterisation Normalisation Evaluation

Classification has been well defined, but requires some clarification. All inputs and outputs of the inventory table are regrouped according to their impact on human health, the environment and the exhaustion of resources. Most common impacts listed at this stage are11: • • • • • • • • •

Depletion of energy resources Depletion of raw materials Global warming Ozone layer depletion Acidification Eutrophication Smog Toxic substances Polluted waste

Substances that cause more than one effect are listed in different classes12. Characterisation, as a stage, has been defined, but is still under development. Its objective is to bundle all the impacts into one environmental impact class. To aggregate the contributions of input and output towards a certain impact, it is not enough just to sum up their units of measurement (kg, l, MJ etc.). Some substances have more intense effects than others and require that greater or smaller influences are calculated before the overall sum.

11 12

Cf. Chap. 11 and Appendix 2. E.g. NOx are, for example, toxic, acidic and cause eutrophication.

Design for Environmental Sustainability  

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Design for Environmental Sustainability  

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