Title: The search for an appropriate end-of-life formula for the purpose of the European Commission Environmental Footprint initiative
Authors: ALLACKER KAREN JOSEEMATHIEUX FABRICEPENNINGTON DAVIDPANT RANA
Citation: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT vol. 22 no. 9 p. 1411-1458
Publisher: SPRINGER HEIDELBERG
Publication Year: 2017
JRC N°: JRC91157
ISSN: 0948-3349
URI: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11367-016-1244-0
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC91157
DOI: 10.1007/s11367-016-1244-0
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: PURPOSE: This paper aims at developing a single formula for calculating the environmental impact related to the End-of-Life processes of a product in the context of the European Commission Environmental Footprint (EC EF) method. The latter aims at a higher degree of comparability of environmental assessments. The aim of the End-of-Life formula in the EC EF method was to enable the assessment of all possible scenarios including recycling, reuse, incineration (with heat recovery) and disposal for both open- and closed-loop systems. METHOD: Several End-of-Life formulas were analysed in terms of physical realism, distribution of burdens in a product cascade system and applicability. The formulas were implemented for several products and for different scenarios regarding recycled content and recyclability to check the robustness of the outcomes. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: As reaching physical realism was proven to be impossible at both the product and overall product cascade system level, priority needs to be given to one. A product level approach was preferred in the context of the EC EF. This approach however requires allocation of the impacts of processes related to more than one product in a product cascade system and should be carefully considered as it has a major influence on the results and decision taking. CONCLUSION: A formula taking into account the number of recycling cycles of a material was identified as preferred to reach physical realism and distribution of burdens in a product cascade system. However, it failed in terms of applicability because of low data availability. Instead, a formula based on the 50:50 approach - allocating the environmental impacts equally between the previous and subsequent product – was selected for the EC EF method.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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