Last updated: 28 Apr 2022 | 285 Views |
Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) are becoming buzzwords among plastic tube packaging suppliers around the world.
A Life Cycle Assessment measures the impact that a manufacturer's processes and products have on the environment over the lifetime of a product.
This standard methodology was developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) in ISO 14040 and 14044. It uses four main phases to deliver an accurate rating of industrial processes and products.
The four phases of an LCA are:
• The goal and scope definition
• Inventory analysis
• Impact assessment
The LCA is an adjustable methodology where the parameters can be refined according to the needs of the study. For instance, the lack of usable data in the initial inventory analysis may cause the company to go back a step and broaden its definition of the project's scope.
As a company becomes more practised in making these LCAs, they begin to learn what they need to make an accurate assessment and can apply these requirements to all the LCAs they undertake. This creates a more uniform and standardised body of usable information. It also increases the validity and value of the interpretations drawn from this information.
We’ll explain the four steps in detail so you can understand why the LCA is becoming so important to the manufacturer. An LCA is one of the best tools for shining a spotlight on ways to improve processes and products that are potentially destructive to the environment. By highlighting the exact danger of a process or product, the company can take concrete steps to reduce the danger.
An LCA can also help a company determine the best allocation of limited funds in making the company more environmentally friendly.
Step 1 – Goal and Scope Definition
The goal and scope definition ensures consistency throughout the LCA. The LCA relies on creating models of a process, product, or system life cycle. These models simplify what is in actuality a complicated reality to make it measurable and definable. But modelling creates some distortion in the data and findings.
The challenge is to create models that keep this distortion down to an acceptable level, as determined by the stakeholders of the project. The goal and scope definition step defines what those acceptable levels are.
Step 2 – Inventory Analysis
This step measures all the environmental inputs and outputs connected with a product or process. Examples of environmental inputs might be the ore that is mined to create a car part. Inputs are all the natural resources that are consumed in the process of creating your product.
Outputs are defined as all the pollutants in the environment that result from the manufacturing process or product itself. Measuring and defining the inputs and outputs together provides a complete picture of the effect of a company’s processes and products.
Step 3 – Impact Assessment
This step is also known as the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA). In this step, a company's managers face the environmental reality of the damage their processes and products inflict on the planet.
This is the stage where managers classify the environmental impacts and make business decisions based on which impacts are most important for the company to reduce.
In the case of multiple negative impacts, as many manufacturers have, managers may integrate the results. For example, reducing new material use and keeping energy use at the same levels can be seen as a net gain. Whereas considering the two results separately would be a positive and a negative, indicating no movement.
Step 4 – Interpretation
During the interpretation phase, all the data is checked to ensure that your conclusions are supported by the data and that you used the correct procedures that are in line with the standards of ISO 14044.
Plastic tube packaging suppliers that care about the environment, such as Victor Packaging in Thailand, have begun to use LCAs regularly.
When a company invests a significant amount of money, time, and effort to improve their entire supply chain towards the goal of creating a healthy planet, they want to be aware of their ongoing progress.
LCAs provide companies with concrete data they can use to increase their investment in a promising new ecological technology and redirect resources from a process that is showing less than promising results. It helps them keep their fingers on the pulse of all the efforts they undertake to improve their standing as an environmentally-conscious company.
Victor Packaging is an environmental leader in the plastic packaging industry in Southeast Asia. Contact them directly to find out more about partnering with Victor Packaging for your plastic packaging.