Life Cycle Analysis

Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is an approach of checking the facts about the environmental burden of a product from its design through to production and then final disposal. An LCA can be used in the design of a new product or the evaluation of an existing product. An LCA attempts to make systematic, holistic sense of information on energy and other resource requirements as well as the environmental impacts associated with every stage in the life cycle of a product. LCA considers the air, water, and solid waste pollution generated when raw materials are extracted. It includes the energy used in the extraction of raw materials and the pollution that results from manufacturing the product. It also accounts for environmental harm that might occur during the distribution and use of the product. Lastly, LCA examines the solid and liquid wastes that are loaded on to the environment following final use of the product.


LCA is a potentially powerful tool that can assist regulators to formulate environmental legislation, help manufacturers analyse their processes and improve their products, and perhaps enable consumers to make more informed choices.