Shedding Light on Ecological Interrelationships – from Bauxite Mining to Recycling
Life-cycle assessments shed light on the overall effects on the environment. They consider the complete life cycle of a material:
- production incl. acquisition of the raw materials
- utilisation of the product including its benefits
- recycling/reprocessing or disposal
A life-cycle assessment can also be divided into four stages:
- Definition of the aim of the life-cycle assessment with a precise conceptual framework and a definition of who the study is aimed at (target group). Important here is also whether the study is intended for publication or internal use.
- Review of the situation for all stages of the life cycle. Where a comparison is made with other products, attention should be given to ensuring the data are absolutely comparable.
- Analysis of environmentally unfriendly effects (for example CO2 emissions, quantity of waste, impurities in water, health risks, etc.)
- Interpretation/evaluation of the results from an ecological point of view.
The final evaluation summarises the results and makes a corresponding recommendation. The results are often considered from different viewpoints.
A thorough Assessment is EssentialA life-cycle assessment does not usually claim to be completely accurate from a scientific point of view. There are often too many variables and imponderabilities. What is important are the criteria used by those who want to use the assessments for advice on how best to do business, such as a packaging plant that wants to know if it makes ecological sense or not for it to change over to aluminium packaging.
Comparability is Essential
If parts are in motion, such as in a car or truck, aluminium has an advantage in any case.
Life-cycle assessments are actively supported by the aluminium industry.