, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp 344-355

Allocation in recycling systems

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Abstract

‘Design for Recycling’ and dematerialization by enhancing the durability of products are major aspects of the quest for sustainable products. This article presents an LCA-based model for the integrated analyses of the product chain, its recycling systems, and its waste treatment systems at the ‘End of Life’ stage. The model is an extension of the EVR (Eco-costs/Value Ratio) model which has been published in this journal (Vogtländer et al. 2001), but can also be applied to other life cycle interpretation models, since the model as such is not restricted to the use of the eco-costs as a single indicator. The model has been developed to evaluate the design alternatives of complex products like buildings and cars. These products comprise several subsystems, each with its own special solution at the End of Life stage: Extending of the product life, object renovation, re-use of components, re-use of materials, useful application of waste materials, immobilization with and without useful applications, incineration with and without energy recovery, land fill.

Since complex product systems always comprise a combination of these design alternatives, a methodology is given to calculate and allocate the eco-costs of the total system in order to select the best solution for sustainability. The methodology is characterized by:

  1. A main allocation model of the recycling flow based on physical relationships,

  2. a strict separation of the market value, the costs and the ecocosts in the system,

  3. a main allocation model for extension of lifetime based on ‘depreciation of eco-costs’, parallel to economic depreciation.