Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a methodology to calculate the environmental burden of a product or a service. In the calculation the potential environmental impacts throughout the whole life cycle of a product or service are being evaluated.
Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) is a methodology implemented by the European Commission to streamline the calculation of environmental impacts of a product. It contains 16 categories of the most important environmental impacts and can measure a products environmental impact by one number – the PEF number.
The methodology has a full lifecycle approach. This means PEF stipulates rules for the LCA calculations from the extraction of raw materials, through production and use, to the disposal process at the end of product life.
The aim from The Commission is to make LCA’s able to compare products with each other and hereby show their true environmental footprint. This can help prevent greenwashing or misleading green claims from companies.
From a consumer-perspective the PEF regulations should make it easier for the consumers to make better informed decisions about the products they intend to buy.
When talking about climate changes we all tend to talk about CO2. But that is not an accurate representation of climate emissions, since CO2 is not the only driver for rising temperatures. There are a number of other gases and effects that contribute to global warming as for example methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) and the clearing of forest area. All the gases and effects are quantified in one single metric called CO2eq (CO2 equivalents).
The electricity mix shows the proportion of electricity generated by various power sources in a specific region, country, continent or worldwide. These power sources can be a mix of; nuclear, thermal energy (fuel oil, natural gas and coal), hydroelectric, solar, wind and biofuel.
Is an electricity mix defined by the European Commission where the amount of energy originating from green energy certificates are subtracted from the electricity mix. This is done in order to avoid double counting of green energy. PEF LCA’s use residual mix for the calculation of electricity emissions originating from production.
Design for Disassembly
‘Design for Disassembly’ means that a product is designed to be taken apart without using any special tools. It enables easier reparations if a part brakes and needs to be replaced. It also allows for disassembly and sorting of materials for recycling at end-of-life.
Take back system
A take back system is a system made by a company to take back their own products from customers, when they no longer need or want them, so that the company can restore or repair the products and resell them or dontate them to charity.
Reused products refer to used stuff, like clothes, toys, and electronics that are resold or given to new owners and in that way continue their use phase without changing shape. This also applies if the clothes are mended, if the electronics are repaired or if the toys get new batteries.
Reused materials are also called New Waste and consist of for example production waste in the form of left-over materials.
Materials from used products or new waste that are broken down or in other ways lose their shape is recycled materials. An example of reycycling is when plastic bottles are collected, cleaned, remelted into granules and used again for new plastic products.
Industrial waste material that is collected and reused in its existing shape in other productions.