RIVM Report 2016-0104
Life cycle assessment (LCA) enables the assessment of the pressure a certain (production) process places on the environment. The assessment comprises all phases needed to produce and use a product, from the initial development to the treatment of waste (the total life cycle). The goal of LCA is, for example, to compare alternatives or to identify phases in the production process that place a relatively high level of pressure on the environment. Based on this knowledge, production processes can be optimized.
Within LCA, ‘life cycle impact models’ (LCIA) are used to estimate the environmental impact. The RIVM is presenting a new, updated version of the life cycle impact (LCIA)-model ReCiPe often used in the Netherlands and Europe. It’s called the ReCiPe 2016. The methodologies and data used in the new model are up to date with the current scientific knowledge.
A life cycle impact assessment results in an ‘environmental profile’: a score list with different environmental effects, such as climate change, water use, land use and soil acidification. This list provides information about the environmental effects that score relatively well or poorly within the life cycle of a product and about the phases in the life cycle that contribute most to the different environmental effects.
The ReCiPe method was first developed in 2008 through cooperation between RIVM, Radboud University Nijmegen, Leiden University and Pré Consultants.