Plastics: Can Life Cycle Assessment Rise to the Challenge?

2nd October 2020

by Simon Hann

Break Free From Plastic commissioned Eunomia to write a report which explored how life cycle assessment (LCA) –the de facto tool used across the world for assessing the environmental impacts of products and processes—is used today to influence policy decision making, particularly in regards to single-use plastic products.

The final report, Plastics: Can Life Cycle Assessment Rise to the Challenge? How to critically assess LCA for policymaking, outlines that understanding its process and limitations is key to determining LCA’s place as a tool in decision making and the realisation that it neither can nor should provide all of the answers or justifications. The research shows that as a tool it is also limited by the questions it is being used to answer; ask inappropriate, misleading, narrow or uninformed questions and the process will only provide answers in that vein. The study reviews the issues around how the context of the study can frequently be abandoned and that often those reading such studies are not experts in the field of LCA.

The report then offers guidance on using LCAs for:

  • Readers
  • Practitioners
  • Commissioners

This report is available free of charge. Press the orange button and provide a few details about yourself to access the download.