A life cycle assessment is the investigation and valuation of the environmental impacts of a given product or service caused or necessitated by its existence. It is a variant of input-output analysis focusing on physical rather than monetary flows. The procedures of life cycle assessment (LCA) are part of the ISO 14000 environmental management standards: in ISO 14040:2006 and 14044:2006. The goal of LCA is to compare the full range of environmental damages assignable to products and services, so that we are able to choose the least burdensome solution. The term 'life cycle' refers to the notion that a fair, holistic assessment requires the assessment of raw material production, manufacture, distribution, use and disposal including all intervening transportation steps necessary or caused by the product's existence. The sum of all those steps is the life cycle of the product. The concept can also be used to optimize the environmental performance of a single product or to optimize the environmental performance of a company.
[...] The third phase, life cycle impact assessment is aimed at evaluating the contribution to impact categories such as global warming, acidification etc. Impact potentials are calculated based on the LCI results. The next steps are normalization and weighting, but these are both voluntary according the ISO standard. The phase stage 'interpretation' is the most important one. An analysis of major contributions, sensitivity analysis and uncertainty analysis leads to the conclusion whether the ambitions from the goal and scope can be met. [...]
[...] Indeed, the incineration of PET-bottles generates greenhouse gas emissions: these emissions are more or less compensated with the profit of the recycling according to the performances of the collection. 5. Valuation Advantages Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is a chemical compound developed in the late 1970s that has revolutionized the plastic bottling industry. Polyethylene terephthalate or PET bottles offer significant advantages over bottles made of polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). For example, PET bottles can withstand eight atmospheres of pressure, which means that, unlike other plastic bottles, they can contain carbonated liquids. [...]
[...] Impact Analysis The Environmental Impact Analysis is the third phase of the LCA, also called Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA). The goal of this phase is to evaluate all the contribution of the product on the environment during its own life cycle, like primary energy, water, photochemical pollution, greenhouse effect, air acidification, water eutrophication or waste. The most important impact evoked by the PET-Bottle life cycle is presented by minerals, in green. During the production of PET resin, a substantial amount of minerals are used: Fe, Limestone, KCl, Bauxite, Sulphur, NaCl. [...]
[...] Goal Definition The main purpose of this analysis is to identify the life cycle of a PET-bottle and the impacts of this product to the environment. Because we are talking about a plastic product, some things need to be excluded from this analysis. These things include for example, the materials, which are needed to make the vehicles, which are then used to import the oil to the factory of PET-bottles; also the production of each drink packaged to these bottles is excluded. [...]
[...] That can be probably explained because not so much virgin material can be replaced due to recycling and reuse like it is the case for the PET-bottle life cycle. The main contributions to acidification are SO2 emissions caused by the production of bottles. They are not assigned also at all for the PET-bottle. An explanation can be seen by avoided PET-bottle production due to a high recycling rate of 90% In the categories radiation, carcinogens and land use, the environmental impacts aroused by PET-bottles just have a negligible share. [...]
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