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The end of life treatment of second generation mobile phone networks: Strategies to reduce the environmental impact

TitleThe end of life treatment of second generation mobile phone networks: Strategies to reduce the environmental impact
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsScharnhorst W, Althaus H-J, Classen M, Jolliet O, Hilty LM
Journal TitleEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review
Volume25
Pages540– 566
KeywordsEnd of life scenarios, LCA, mobile phone network, Recycling benefit, Value correction factor, Waste management
AbstractA life cycle assessment was carried out based on a detailed life cycle inventory for a typical GSM 900 mobile phone network and related End of Life (EOL) treatment infrastructure. The environmental relevance of the three life cycle phases: production, use and EOL treatment was analysed using IMPACT2002+. The environmentally preferable EOL treatment alternative was identified on the basis of six previously developed EOL treatment scenarios. The results indicate that the environmental impacts attributable to the use phase dominate the environmental impacts incurred over the entire life cycle of the network. The impacts of the production phase are primarily attributable to the energy intensive manufacturing of printed wiring boards (PWB). The EOL phase dominates the impacts on ecosystem quality. In particular the longterm emissions of heavy metals have critical effects. Detailed analysis of the EOL phase shows that recycling of network materials in general leads to a two fold reduction of environmental impacts: in the EOL phase itself as well as by means of the avoided primary production of materials recovered in the EOL phase. An increase in the material quality of the secondary precious and rare materials leads to a significant reduction in the impacts on human health.
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Scharnhorst_2005_EIAR.pdf343.22 KB
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