A waste input-output life-cycle cost analysis of the recycling of end-of-life electrical home appliances

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    Abstract

    However excellent a product may be environmentally, it would not come into wide use in the economy to realize its environmental load reducing potential unless it is also economically affordable. Life-cycle costing (LCC) is a tool to assess the cost of a product over its entire life cycle, and can be regarded as an economic counterpart of LCA. A combined use of LCA and LCC would be imperative for assessing the sustainability of a product or product systems in the economy. This paper presents a new methodology of LCC which gives the cost and price counterpart of the hybrid LCA tool (Waste Input-Output, WIO) that was developed by Nakamura and Kondo (2002) [Nakamura, S., Kondo, Y., 2002. Input-output analysis of waste management. Journal of Industrial Ecology 6 (1), 39-63.] for LCA of waste management. Building upon the preceding LCA study by Kondo and Nakamura (2004) [Kondo, Y., Nakamura, S., 2004. Evaluating alternative life-cycle strategies for electrical appliances by the waste input-output model. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 9 (4), 236-246.], the applicability of the methodology is illustrated by a case study of electric appliances under alternative end-of-life scenarios: landfilling, intensive recycling that is consistent with the Japanese law on the recycling of appliances, and an advanced form of intensive recycling augmented by Design for Disassembly (DfD). Application of the proposed LCC methodology indicates that while the life-cycle cost is the highest under intensive recycling and the lowest under landfilling, the cost of recycling can be reduced by appropriate implementation of DfD. The possible introduction of a carbon tax is also found to significantly reduce the cost disadvantage of recycling against landfilling. Given the high level of environmental load associated with landfilling and the possible introduction of carbon taxes, Design for Environment or EcoDesign emerges as a strategy of vital importance to achieve the sustainability of appliances.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)494-506
    Number of pages13
    JournalEcological Economics
    Volume57
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2006 May 25

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    Keywords

    • Design for Disassembly
    • Electric appliances
    • LCA
    • LCC
    • Recycling

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Ecology

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