1995-02-01

The Role of Life Cycle Assessment in Environmental Decision Making 950208

Life cycle assessment is an important tool for determining the environmental impacts of products, processes, and packaging. A complete life cycle assessment consists of three phases: life cycle inventory, impact analysis, and improvement analysis. A life cycle inventory examines the energy and resource usage and environmental releases associated with a system from “cradle to grave,” that is, from the extraction of raw materials through raw material processing; manufacture, transportation, and use of the product; and finally, disposal, reuse, or recycling of the product. Life cycle inventory results can be used to identify areas for improving product and packaging systems in terms of reducing global energy usage, resource usage, and environmental releases.

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