LCA – Life Cycle Analysis

LCA – What is Life Cycle Analysis?

LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) is a method where environmental impacts can be calculated, measured and reported throughout the entire life cycle of a product, service or process, starting from the acquisition of raw materials, to processing, production, use, end of life and disposal, according to ISO 14040/44 standards. is an assessment method that provides information including resource efficiency and amount of waste generation.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is defined as the systematic analysis of potential environmental impacts of products or services throughout their entire life cycle.

During a Life Cycle Assessment (Life Cycle Analysis), you assess the potential environmental impacts of a product or service throughout its entire life cycle (production, distribution, use, and end-of-life stages). This also includes upstream (eg suppliers) and downstream (eg waste management) processes associated with production (eg production of raw, auxiliary and operating materials), use phase and disposal (eg waste incineration).

The life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) covers all relevant inputs from the environment (eg ore and crude oil, water, land use) as well as emissions to air, water and soil (eg carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides). The International Organization for Standardization provides guidelines and requirements for performing a Life Cycle Assessment against ISO 14040 and 14044.

LCA studies have gained increasing importance in the last 30 years and are studies carried out in a wide range from the water we drink in the world today to the construction materials and technology products used in our homes. LCA studies, which are analyzed on a product basis and on a production line basis, have given rise to the expectations of manufacturers and service providers-suppliers to have a larger scope and to calculate products and services in a way that covers all effects within wide limits. The benefits of life cycle assessment can be listed as follows:

  • Measure and manage the sustainability of products across various lifecycle phases.
  • Identification of significant environmental impacts of products at every stage of their life cycle.
  • Identification of environmental impacts and contributing hotspots at each stage of production processes.
  • Assist the decision-making process for potential improvement and investments.
  • Comparing the sustainability of products in production and applying improvements.
  • To provide guidance in the preparation of sustainability plans; managing risks and potential liabilities.
  • Stimulating demand for products with less adverse environmental impact.
  • Optimizing supply processes and competitive advantage

Unlike the LCA Lifecycle Corporate Carbon Footprint, it also considers the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions outside the boundaries of the firm’s own operations. This includes those related to the manufacture and use of the product by suppliers, customers and distributors. It also covers emissions from waste disposal and recycling.

“6 RE philosophy”:

  1. re-think: make detailed analysis of the product and its function,

2.re-duce: reduce raw material and energy consumption throughout its life cycle,

3.re-place: use less harmful ones instead of harmful substances,

4.re-cycle: selection of recyclable materials,

5.re-use: producing the product in a way that can be reused,

6.re-pair: to produce suitable for repair (repair),

LCA Purpose

  • Reducing resource consumption,
  • Reducing environmental emissions and thus the effects,
  • Improvement and/or development of social factors,
  • Describing and highlighting positive links between economic and environmental factors.

LCA Application Purposes

The United Nations, European Union and many states have started to use the YDD analysis years ago and they direct their policies according to the results of these analyzes.

-Product Impact Measurement

-Eco Labeling

-Identifying Environmental Impacts

-Product Comparison

-Product Development and Improvement

-Strategic planning

-Decision making

-Marketing

-Other

LCA Stages

  1. Raw Material Production: Production of one or more raw materials required to create the product

2.Product or Service Production: The stage of manufacture or creation of products or services

  1. Consumption / Use of the Product or Service: The phase of use after the product is served to the customer
  2. Disposal: Disposal phase when products are not recycled
  3. Recycling: The process of recycling the product as raw material again
  4. Shipping: The logistics stage of the product or service, including all intermediate steps

LCA Evaluation Steps

Objective and Scope Definition: At this stage, you define the product or service you want to evaluate, choose a functional basis for comparison, and define the level of detail required l. You then set a goal that sets the scope, including purpose, application, and audience. Finally, you determine whether a critical review of this objective is required.

Inventory Analysis: Here you perform a collection of data and an inventory analysis of releases and releases from the media. The final inventory provides a list of all the inputs and outputs related to the lifecycle of your product or service.

Impact Assessment: In impact assessment, you categorize resource use and emissions produced by their potential impact and quantify them for a limited number of impact categories, which you can then evaluate for their relative importance for the purpose of the LCA study.

Interpretation: With the above information, you discuss the results in terms of contributions, relevance, robustness, data quality and limitations, and systematically evaluate all opportunities to reduce the negative environmental impact of the product(s) or services. transition load between impact categories or lifecycle stages. Avoiding shifting of the load is a key strength of the LCA approach.

 

LCA approaches the concept of cradle-to-grave:

  • Raw Material
  • Production
  • Transport
  • Consumption
  • Disposal
  • Recycling

When performing LCA studies, it is necessary to have a very large data set. At the same time, these data sets need to be constantly updated. Otherwise, LCA studies do not give accurate results and if it needs to be approved by independent verifiers, it will not be approved. For this reason, as QSI Documentation, we use SimaPro, the software with the world’s largest and most up-to-date database.

Life Cycle Assessment Terminology

System Boundary: This is a description of the activities included and not considered during the product lifecycle stages.

Product system: All activities within the system boundary associated with the functional unit.

Functional Unit: Reference unit for scaling the product system based on the function(s) provided. You make all assessments based on this unit. Examples include 100 pairs of hands dried (eg for paper towels and electric hand dryers), 1 liter of coffee (eg for coffee machines), 1,000 pages printed (eg for office printers), or 1 tonne kilometer (eg, freight). for transport).

Reference Flow: The amount of product, expressed as mass, energy, area, volume, or any other physical unit, required to provide the functional unit. For LCAs that evaluate intermediates or raw materials without a specific end use, the reference stream can act as the functional unit (for example, 1 tonne of metal A or chemical B).

Life Cycle Inventory Analysis (LCI):

Collection and analysis of all data necessary to measure inputs (resource and energy flows) and outputs (emissions and other emissions) into and out of the product system crossing the system boundary.

Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA):

Evaluation of potential environmental impacts based on LCI analysis results using a comprehensive range of impact categories.

Interpretation: Discussing and evaluating the findings of the LCI and LCIA results to come to a conclusion, compare scenarios (another key function of LCA analysis), and identify current improvement potentials.

Reporting: Documenting the LCA work comprehensively and transparently in accordance with ISO 14044 requirements.

Critical Review: Compliance assessment by one or more independent expert(s) to verify compliance with ISO 14044 requirements, thereby increasing the reliability of the LCA study and its ability to communicate its results. If a company plans to publicly disclose environmental superiority claims over a competing product, the LCA study should be reviewed externally by a panel of three independent experts.