What is a Life Cycle Assessment?
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the method of analysing the effects that a product has on the environment, taking into account its full lifespan. This is an important step to take when looking to understand and improve a product’s environmental impact.
LCAs take everything into account, from the mining of the materials to the eventual disposal or destruction of the item. Each step of a product’s lifespan is analysed, including transportation, production, use, resale, refurbishment and recycling or disposal to name a few.
What is the Difference Between Embodied Carbon and a Life Cycle Assessment Result?
LCAs are often mistaken for embodied carbon as they are both product sustainability metrics that offer an in-depth analysis of a product’s environmental impact.
However, embodied carbon just looks at the pre-use impact of a product – the “cradle to gate” stages – such as mining of materials, manufacturing, and transportation. A full LCA result, on the other hand, reflects the product’s entire environmental impact, including use and end of life - the "cradle to grave” stages.
The metrics can also vary. While embodied carbon quantifies the total greenhouse gases (GHGs) released in the production and preparation of a specific product, an LCA can explore a wider range of additional environmental impacts, including water and material use. Therefore, whilst both are valuable to understand, lifecycle assessment generates a more in-depth and complete analysis of a product’s environmental impact.
Find out More About Carbon Considerations Here:
The Benefits of Life Cycle Assessment | Why are They Done?
LCAs allow companies and individuals to understand the environmental costs associated with their products and encourage more responsible disposal at end of life.
Technology is a prime example; in its current form, the industry is reliant upon producing new devices and components. Most mobile phone contracts last two years, with early upgrades and renewals often resulting in the purchase of a brand-new device. This approach results in massive amounts of e-waste being generated, with millions of devices heading straight to landfill prematurely.
Using IT product life extension services – such as repairs, component level upgrades or selling your device to a refurbishment specialist – allows you to decrease the environmental impact of your technology. Whilst use-phase carbon footprint may increase because you’ve used it for longer, the effect of that device in terms of e-waste produced, pollution and harm to nature is significantly reduced. Extending the productive life also reduces the demand for a replacement new device to be created, which helps preserve resources and reduce emissions further. LCAs enable us to quantify and report on the effects of interventions like these.
Techbuyer’s Sustainable IT Solutions
Techbuyer, as a global provider of sustainable IT solutions, is particularly interested in improving the impacts of technology on the planet. We provide sustainable alternatives for the procurement, maintenance and disposal of IT hardware to extend the lifespan of devices, manage the embodied carbon of the IT industry as a whole and decrease the amount of e-waste littering our planet.
Find out more about our IT lifecycle services and what we can do for you or your business here.
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