What is LCA?
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a methodological tool used to quantitatively analyse the life cycle of products/activities within the context of environmental impact. For this purpose specific calculation tools are being applied. In LCA, the total life cycle of a product or activity is considered; from the extraction of resource materials onto the waste and waste treatment stage, also referred to as from cradle to grave.
LCA comprises a number of steps. De most important ones are:
The result of a LCA-study is an environmental profile of a product or activity: a ‘score list’ with environmental effects. The environmental profile shows the largest environmental problems caused by a product, and at which stage(s) in the life cycle these problems are caused. In this way, LCA contributes to the possible definition of management changes for improving the environmental friendliness of a product. Also, the consequences of different alternatives can be showed.