For the month of May, we’ll be bringing you life cycle assessment information and news. Life cycle assessment is a holistic approach to understanding the environmental impacts of a product or service. Often referred to as “cradle-to-grave”, a life cycle assessment (LCA) begins with inception or design and the extraction of raw materials from the earth, and follows the life of a product all the way through its disposal at the end of its useful life. The EPA summarizes the major stages as follows: 1) raw material acquisition 2) materials manufacture 3) production 4) use/reuse/maintenance 5) waste management. The impacts of each of these stages are then considered in the measurement of the environmental impact. Click here to read the EPA’s full LCA 101 document.
On Sunday we attended Sweetgreen’s Sweetlife festival. It was a great example of how you can take an LCA approach to an event. From its inception, the day was designed to produce as little waste and emissions as possible. Organizers sourced local an organic food, provided a “human-powered arcade” (where gamers pedaled on bikes to charge the gaming units), and positioned composting and recycling bins at every trashcan. The event even offered a low-cost shuttle service from DC to promote carpooling! Click here to learn more about the event and stay tuned for next year’s!