Life cycle assessment in a circular economy

The picture shows a lot of old electricity and computer cables.

The 63rd “Life Cycle Assessment” Discussion Forum focused on the circular economy. Melanie Haupt presented the results of her study on material flows in the Swiss waste industry.

​The results of the NRP 70 joint project "Waste management to support the energy turnaround" show that the collection rates currently determined in Switzerland and other countries do not allow any conclusions to be drawn on the system circuit and therefore on the indirectly saved energy. One reason for this lies in the recycling processes and the resource quality, which are not taken into account in current system efficiency measurements.

In a further step, the municipal waste management sector is to be ecologically optimised in view of these factors, and here the environmental effects are calculated on the bases of a life cycle assessment. This will help in determining the optimum contribution of the waste industry to the energy turnaround.

The conference report has been published in the “International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment″.