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LCA as a tool for environmental management: a life cycle inventory case study from the Greek market

  • Authors (legacy)
    Georgakellos D.

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a technique for holistic environmental assessments of products and
processes. The unique feature of this methodology is its focus on the entire life cycle of a product, from
raw material extraction to final disposition. In order to assess the role of LCA in environmental management,
a comprehensive overview of its theoretical background (including recent aspects of its principles
and framework) is presented in this paper. From this overview it is obvious that, in spite of its drawbacks,
LCA is recognized as a valuable methodology in environmental management, capable of analysing and
assessing in a scientifical way the environmental consequences of various products and activities.
Complementary to this analysis, a life cycle inventory (LCI) case study from the Greek market is also presented.
In this LCI application, all the methodological issues and guidelines are taken into consideration
in order to calculate the resource requirements and the environmental loadings of ten alternative packaging
products while some of them are presented by each life cycle stage. The results of this LCI case
study cover a long list of inflows and outflows. Notwithstanding that these results are difficult to interpret,
they are very detailed and not affected by uncertainties introduced by impact assessment.

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