Life-cycle assessment

A life-cycle assessment or LCA is an analysis of the impact of a manufactured product on the environment. There are many detailed stages but the main ones are:

1.       extracting and processing the raw materials needed

2.       manufacturing the product and its packaging

3.       using the product during its lifetime

4.       disposing of the product at the end of its useful life

The four main stages

At all stages, an LCA is likely to include information about the use of energy, transport of materials and the release of waste substances into the environment.

1. Raw materials

All the raw materials we need come from the Earth's crust, atmosphere or oceans, or are due to living organisms. Obtaining these materials has an impact on the environment, including:

·         using up limited resources such as ores and crude oil

·         damaging habitats through quarrying, mining, or felling trees

2. Manufacture

The manufacture of products has an impact on the environment, including:

·         using up land for factories

·         the use of machines and people

·         fossil fuels



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