Influence of the impact assessment method on the conclusions of a LCA study. Application to the case of a part made with virgin and recycled HDPE

Carla L. Simões*, Susana M. Xará, C. A. Bernardo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent legislation has stressed the need to decide the best end-of-life (EoL) option for post-consumer products considering their full life-cycle and the corresponding overall environmental impacts. The life cycle assessment (LCA) technique has become a common tool to evaluate those impacts. The present study aimed to contribute to the better understanding of the application of this technique, by evaluating the influence of the selection of the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) method in its results and conclusions. A specific case study was chosen, using previous information related to an anti-glare lamellae (AGL) for highway use, made with virgin and recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Five distinct LCIA methods were used: Eco-indicator 99, CML 2 (2000), EPS 2000, Eco-indicator 95 and EDIP 97. Consistent results between these methods were obtained for the Climate change, Ozone layer depletion, Acidification and Eutrophication environmental indicators. Conversely, the Summer smog indicator showed large discrepancies between impact assessment methods. The work sheds light on the advantages inherent in using various LCIA methods when doing the LCA study of a specific product, thus evidencing complementary analysis perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1018-1026
Number of pages9
JournalWaste Management and Research
Volume29
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011

Keywords

  • Anti-glare device
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Life cycle impact assessment method
  • Recycling
  • Road safety device

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