How LCA can support the development of circular economy assessment tool? A proposition at product level

Main Presenter: Geoffrey Lonca 

Co-Authors: Aurélien Bruel

While publications on circular economy (CE) indicators have increased over the past four years, they tend to be scattered sporadically among the field of knowledge on environmental sustainability. It is time for current developments in this area to be further rooted on well-established science. Quantifying circularity at product level is a complex task because of the diversity of strategies CE includes, e.g., recycling, reusing or extending lifespan, and because of the diversity of issues it addresses, e.g., criticality of resources, ecosystems or economic development. We explore 6 major issues that must be addressed when developing a CE indicator at product level, such as deciding on the level of granularity and specificity of the indicator(s), e.g., indicator per type of cycle, the integration of criticality indices and other, and we explore what propose the current knowledge in environmental-related assessment areas to address these issues. We suggest an example of indicator development derived from the Material Circularity Indicator developed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation addressing these development issues and apply it to a case study on a modular and multifunctional kettle designed by KIPPIT. As a conclusion, we suppose that merging circularity indicators with LCA tools, i.e., using LCA computational structure and data to provide circularity scores, has potential to provide more consensual answers to the 6 major issues addressed throughout the paper.

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