1997-04-08

An Allocation Dilemma with Closed-Loop Recycling 971194

How does a company determine if a new product or process has less or more impact on the environment? Or do we just assume that because it has recycled content it has less impact on the environment? A life cycle assessment can be used to better understand the impacts and the trade-offs. The authors have prepared an analysis in which large volume, currently valueless material is recovered and recycled by chemical depolymerization. A careful selection of boundaries will reduce the amount of data needed to perform a meaningful life cycle assessment; however, it may also introduce new questions regarding the allocation of burdens. This paper will present the difficulties experienced in understanding the proper way to view burden allocation for a closed-loop system with limited boundaries.

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