In recent years, rising worldwide plastic consumption led to the generation of increasing amounts of plastic waste and to the awareness of the importance of its management. In that framework, the present work describes how Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and economic assessment methodologies can be used for evaluating environmental and economic impacts of alternative plastic waste management systems. The literature on LCA of plastic waste management systems is vast and the results reported are generally consistent, showing that recycling has the lowest environmental impact on Global Warming Potential (GWP) and Total Energy Use (TEU) impacts. On the other hand, the literature addressing the economic assessment of plastic waste, namely the various End-of-Life (EoL) treatments, is rather limited. Other methodologies, such as integration of LCA and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) of plastic products, are almost never addressed. In any case, the overarching conclusion is that plastic materials usually have environmental and economic advantages over conventional materials throughout their Life Cycle, with or without consideration of the EoL stage.
Environmental and economic life cycle analysis of plastic waste management options. A review
C. A. Bernardo, Carla L. Simões, Lígia M. Costa Pinto; Environmental and economic life cycle analysis of plastic waste management options. A review. AIP Conf. Proc. 31 October 2016; 1779 (1): 140001. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4965581
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