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RE: clarification on LCA question


I checked with our LCA expert. He says that the only place he's seen LCA at
agencies is in the environmnetally preferable products arena (e.g., EPA's
EPP program, http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/epp/).  

While the conceptual information about LCA is readily available, and there's
manuals that explain methodology, it can be daunting, the learning curve is
steep, and applying LCA at any given agency is going to require more than
just a quick surf on the web. Also, when you're using LCA information for
decisionmaking, you may end up having to make explicit tradeoffs between
environmental "bads". Agencies (and everyone else) implicitly do this all
the time, but it can be uncomfortable to try to pin down a public agency to
explicitly articulate the tradeoffs they have to make. In that respect using
LCA may open  some big cans of worms.

If you want to talk about it more, contact Keith Weitz, kaw@rti.org, 919 541
6973. He's done work on streamlined LCA that might be useful to you. 

melissa malkin

Melissa Malkin
Research Triangle Institute, Pollution Prevention Program 
POB 12194 
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194
voice: (919) 541-6154     fax (919) 541 7155

-----Original Message-----
From: Kathy Barwick [mailto:KBarwick@dtsc.ca.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 1999 8:15 PM
To: p2tech@great-lakes.net
Subject: clarification on LCA question

Let me be a little more specific about my question on life cycle analyses.
I am aware that many companies use LCA to evaluate the impacts of their
manufacturing processes and products on the environment, and, the technical
aspects of LCA are readily available on the 'net.  What I'm interested in
here is whether any environmental regulatory agencies (state, local or
federal) systematically use LCA to support decisions.  For example, agencies
systematically use, that is, they have procedures in place, to perform  risk
assessments to establish site clean-up levels.  Are any agencies similarly
using LCA to support other kinds of decisions?  Such decisions could be
regulatory (use mtbe as gasoline additive?), or as part of technical
assistance (plastic or paper?).  Thanks once again .

Kathryn Barwick
Office of Pollution Prevention
California Dept of Toxic Substances Control
Ph (916) 323-9560
F   (916) 327-4494
email: kbarwick@dtsc.ca.gov