Support phosphorus recycling policy with social life cycle assessment: A case of Japan

Heng Yi Teah, Motoharu Onuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Producing phosphorus (P) fertilizers with recycled P is desirable for efficient use of P resource. However, the current cost of P recycling facilities in Japan strongly discourages the government from adopting this practice. To expand consideration for a P recycling policy, the concept of social externality was introduced. Social issues, such as the violation of human rights in P mining in the Western Sahara, have been identified in recent studies; nevertheless, a systematic approach towards accountability was lacking. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to support a P recycling policy with a social life cycle assessment (SLCA) by contrasting the social impacts associated with mineral and recycled P fertilizers using the case study of Japan. We developed a framework based on the UNEP-SETAC SLCA Guidelines with a supplementary set of P-specific social indicators. The results showed that the marginal social impact associated with recycled P was much less relative to mineral P; however, even if we factored in the maximum recycling capacity, a mandate of P recycling policy in Japan would not mitigate the impacts significantly relative to the current situation because only 15% of P rocks could be substituted. In short, we showed that a semi-quantitative SLCA framework would be useful to communicate the wide spectrum of social impacts to policymakers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1223
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume9
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 12
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

life cycle assessment
recycling
Phosphorus
Recycling
Life cycle
life cycle
Japan
phosphorus
social impact
social effects
Fertilizers
Minerals
Western Sahara
fertilizer
social indicator
United Nations Environment Program
social indicators
mineral
accountability
social issue

Keywords

  • Phosphorus fertilizers
  • Phosphorus recycling
  • Social impact assessment
  • Social life cycle assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

Support phosphorus recycling policy with social life cycle assessment : A case of Japan. / Teah, Heng Yi; Onuki, Motoharu.

In: Sustainability (Switzerland), Vol. 9, No. 7, 1223, 12.07.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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