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We have undertaken an evaluation of the environmental impact of fixed-line telephone networks in Japan. We chose the life cycle assessment (LCA) method for this evaluation because it can assess the environmental burden quantitatively. Prior to the evaluation, we developed a telecommunication network model including end-user terminals, access facilities, end-offices, repeater stations and transmission facilities. The model for these facilities represents typical networks in the Tokyo metropolitan area. We have evaluated the environmental burden imposed by more than 50 pieces of equipment using life cycle inventory analysis. We found that throughout the entire life cycle, the CO2 emissions emanating from fixed-line telephone networks during the use stage accounted for about 77% of the total. The emissions from customers' equipment were particularly heavy. We also estimated the potential recovery available by recycling equipment and facilities and the effect was a reduction of about 6% in CO2 emissions.
Date of Conference: 19-22 May 2003