Title: Accounting for the dissipation of abiotic resources in LCA: status, key challenges and potential way forward
Authors: BEYLOT ANTOINEARDENTE FULVIOSALA SERENELLAZAMPORI LUCA
Citation: RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND RECYCLING vol. 157 p. 104748
Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Publication Year: 2020
JRC N°: JRC117230
ISSN: 0921-3449 (online)
URI: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921344920300707?via%3Dihub
https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC117230
DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2020.104748
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The concept of resources or materials dissipation after their use in the technosphere has been increasingly considered in life-cycle based studies, applying Substance and Material Flow Analysis (SFA and MFA), Input-Output Analysis, and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). However, there is currently no common understanding of what a dissipative flow is. This article first reviews 45 publications to describe the status of resource dissipation in life-cycle based studies, discussing how resource dissipation is usually defined, which temporal perspective is considered, which compartments of dissipation are distinguished, and which approaches (including the implementation of parameters) are considered to assess resource dissipation in a system. Moreover, this article proposes a comprehensive definition of resource dissipation, building from the literature review and focusing on abiotic resources. It then discusses this definition with respect to its potential implementation in LCA considering today’s existing Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) datasets and best practices. Overall it shows that the LCA framework may be well suited to assess abiotic resource dissipation. In particular i) the compartments of dissipation usually considered in the literature are covered in LCA, and ii) LCI databases could be a source of information to be further used to quantify a set of flows defined as “dissipative”, as commonly considered in SFA/MFA studies. However, major challenges are still faced before any potential routine implementation in LCA. The article accordingly discusses the potential way forward in the short-term (development and test of possible approaches), mid-term (towards satisfactory robustness, and consensus) and long-term (large-scale changes of LCI databases).
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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