Title: Beyond the throwaway society: life cycle base assessment of the environmental benefit of reuse
Authors: CASTELLANI ValentinaSALA SERENELLAMIRABELLA Nadia
Citation: INTEGRATED ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT vol. 11 no. 3 p. 373–382
Publisher: WILEY-BLACKWELL
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC89878
ISSN: 1551-3777
URI: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ieam.1614/abstract
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC89878
DOI: 10.1002/ieam.1614
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Sustainable consumption in the context of circular economy is seen as the antithesis of current consumption patterns, which are characterized in terms of the so-called “throwaway society”. Reuse may provide an excellent, environmentally preferred alternative to other waste management methods, because it promotes resource efficiency and reduces air, water and soil pollution. In the present study, we propose a methodology for the appraisal of environmental benefits related to reuse adopting life cycle assessment (LCA). A case study on a second hand shop is presented and avoided impacts quantified. The methodology consists of two main phases: i) calculation of average avoided impacts for one unit of reused product in each product category considered and ii) calculation of the cumulative avoided impacts generated during one year by the second hand shop. Inventory data were taken both from literature, and directly from sales and survey submitted to customers. The proposed methodology proved to be useful in order to evaluate comprehensively the environmental benefits of reuse of goods, through a standardized procedure based on the identification of reference products for each product category that has to be evaluated, in order to be able to collect reliable inventory data and to perform an LCA. The higher contribution to avoided impacts comes from the apparel sector, due to the high amount of items sold, followed by the furniture sector, due to the high amount of environmental impacts avoided by the reuse of each single item.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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