Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) evaluates the environmental burden associated with a product, process, or activity by identifying and quantifying energy and materials used and wastes released to the environment.

The overall aim of a LCA is to assess the impact of those energy and materials used and releases to the environment, and to identify and evaluate opportunities to effect environmental improvements.

Assessment often includes the entire life cycle; encompassing extracting/mining, processing raw materials, manufacturing, transportation / distribution, use, re-use, maintenance, recycling to final disposal.

Life Cycle Assessment
The overall aim of a LCA is to assess the impact of those energy and materials used and releases to the environment, and to identify and evaluate opportunities to effect environmental improvements.

Key components

There are four key components of a LCA:

  1. Goal definition and scoping: identifying the purpose and the expected products of the study, determining the boundaries (what is / is not included) and assumptions based upon the goal definition;
  2. Life-cycle inventory (LCI): identifying and quantifying the energy, raw material inputs and environmental releases associated with each stage of production and use;
  3. Impact analysis: assessing the impacts on human health and the environment associated with energy and raw material inputs and environmental releases quantified by the LCI;
  4. Improvement analysis: evaluating opportunities to reduce energy, material inputs, or environmental impacts at each stage of the product life-cycle

ZIA is undertaking the first, global LCA for the use of zircon in the manufacture of ceramic tiles. This will be completed during 2017.

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