Life Cycle Analysis (LCA
) is a method by which the environmental impact
of a product
can be computed.
For every life stage of the product (from the mining of raw material, via the transport of raw material, production of the product, use of the product, etc, to the final stage of disposal) the input of energy and other resources into the product and the emissions to the environment are determined. With these data a certain product or process can be compared to its alternatives with respect to the environmental impact.
For example, with LCA it has been calculated that, contrary to popular belief, a polycarbonate milk bottle is more environmentally friendly than a glass milk bottle, due to its lower weight and favourable shape.