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

TitleA waste input–output life-cycle cost analysis of the recycling of end-of-life electrical home appliances
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsNakamura S, Kondo Y
Journal TitleEcological Economics
KeywordsDesign for Disassembly, Electric appliances, LCA, LCC, recycling
AbstractHowever excellent a product may be environmentally, it would not come into wide use in the economy to realize itsenvironmental load reducing potential unless it is also economically affordable. Life-cycle costing (LCC) is a tool to assess thecost of a product over its entire life cycle, and can be regarded as an economic counterpart of LCA. A combined use of LCA andLCC would be imperative for assessing the sustainability of a product or product systems in the economy. This paper presents anew methodology of LCC which gives the cost and price counterpart of the hybrid LCA tool (Waste Input–Output, WIO) thatwas 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 Kondoand Nakamura (2004) [Kondo, Y., Nakamura, S., 2004. Evaluating alternative life-cycle strategies for electrical appliances bythe waste input–output model. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 9 (4), 236–246.], the applicability of themethodology is illustrated by a case study of electric appliances under alternative end-of-life scenarios: landfilling, intensiverecycling that is consistent with the Japanese law on the recycling of appliances, and an advanced form of intensive recyclingaugmented by Design for Disassembly (DfD). Application of the proposed LCC methodology indicates that while the life-cyclecost is the highest under intensive recycling and the lowest under landfilling, the cost of recycling can be reduced by appropriateimplementation of DfD. The possible introduction of a carbon tax is also found to significantly reduce the cost disadvantage ofrecycling against landfilling. Given the high level of environmental load associated with landfilling and the possibleintroduction of carbon taxes, Design for Environment or EcoDesign emerges as a strategy of vital importance to achieve thesustainability of appliances.
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