Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) seeks to identify possible improvements to goods and services in the form of lower environmental impacts and reduced use of resources across all life cycle stages. This begins with raw material extraction and conversion, then manufacture and distribution, through to use and/or consumption. It ends with re-use, recycling of materials, energy recovery and ultimate disposal.
The key aim of Life Cycle Thinking is to avoid burden shifting. This means minimising impacts at one stage of the life cycle, or in a geographic region, or in a particular impact category, while helping to avoid increases elsewhere. For example, saving energy during the use phase of a product, while not increasing the amount of material needed to provide it.
The products we buy and use every day contribute to our comfort and well-being. However, awareness of the unsustainable levels of resource consumption and the significant impacts of these products on the environment is growing among consumers, policy makers and business.
Life Cycle Thinking seeks to identify possible improvements to goods and services in the form of lower environmental impacts and reduced use of the resources across all life cycle stages.
- The Sustainable Consumption and Production Action Plan aims to reduce the overall environmental impact and consumption of resources associated with the complete life cycles of goods and services (products)
- Integrated Product Policy Communication (COM(2003)302)
- Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources (COM(2005)670)
- Thematic Strategy on the Prevention and Recycling of Waste (COM(2005)666)