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Is economic value an effective proxy for embodied energy and environmental impact in material systems?

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3 Author(s)
Gregory, J. ; Mater. Syst. Lab., Massachusetts Inst. of Technol., Cambridge, MA, USA ; Fredholm, S. ; Kirchain, R.

This paper uses economic value metrics to evaluate the retention of value of secondary materials and provides a framework for characterizing value throughout a material and product life-cycle. These economic value metrics are compared with analogous life cycle assessment metrics in order to determine the conditions under which economic value effectively represents environmental impact for EoL material recovery decision-makers. A comparison of these metrics using several different material types indicates that there is a strong correlation between LCA metrics and economic value metrics for most of the materials studied. However, there were a few cases in which the economic value metrics were poor indicators of the LCA metrics.

Published in:

Sustainable Systems and Technology, 2009. ISSST '09. IEEE International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

18-20 May 2009