Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of a case study on cups for policymakers

The Ministry of I&W commissions LCA studies to develop science-based policies. LCA studies are large, detailed studies that can sometimes have conflicting results. I&W therefore wants to acquire tools to enable it to make policy decisions based on LCA studies.

This report compares four LCA studies for cups and tableware, with the aim of helping policymakers gain a better understanding of how various LCA studies are constructed. The comparison showed that the purpose of such a study, the datasets used, the source of the data, the impact categories used, and the assumptions made in an LCA study can vary quite a bit, resulting in similar studies producing different conclusions.

The cup case study was discussed with LCA scientists in a workshop. This study provides a number of recommendations for policymakers to consider when planning, reading or reviewing an LCA study. This allows policymakers to value and compare LCA studies more effectively.