The life cycle assessment (LCA) is a methodological tool for studying the environmental aspects and potential impacts of a product or service throughout its lifecycle, from the extraction of raw materials, production, its use, and eventually, its disposal and/or recycling. The LCA methodology has evolved since early 1960, and currently, with the new production industries around the world, such as bio-based products, the application of hybrid LCA has emerged to gain benefits of process-based inventory analysis. The LCA can be divided into four steps: Goal and scope definition; Life cycle inventory (LCI) analysis; Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA); Interpretation. The holistic nature of the LCAs imposes some limitations in its employment; it focuses on the physical characteristics of the industrial activities rather than on the secondary effects of technological development. However, the LCA is a useful methodology to make informed decisions because it allows the environmental impacts of different products and activities to be compared.
Erasmo Cadena (Vertech Group - VTG)