By Th.G. Aalbers, H.A. van der Sloot, J.J.J.M. Goumans

The concept that of Sustainable improvement, implicating the safety of soil and groundwater, the hassle of waste construction and the re-use of soild waste material remains to be the best topic of WASCON '94. even though it is obviously famous in so much international locations that items derived from good waste material should be utilized as development fabrics, learn remains to be had to investigate quite a few environmental difficulties.

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At the international level, SETAC (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry) is the leading forum for the development of such an accepted methodology. THE USE OF LIFE CYCLE ANALYSIS I N 'ECO-DESIGN' The LCA approach ha5 not generated a great deal of experience in the systematic improvement of products. It does, however, play a role in ' environment-oriented p r o d u c t development i n companies', commonly known as 'ecodesign' . Environment-oriented product development can be described as: designing and developing a product in such a way that environmental criteria a r e given equal weight to other criteria.

Environmental merit" is the difference in the environmental impact before and after the implementation of a given improvement option (including both the primary and secondary environmental impacts of the improvement option). After comparing the potential improvement options on the grounds of a purely ecological assessment, the social, technological and economic feasibility of the options and their suitability for the specific company a r e assessed. The option finally adopted will be determined by weighing up the ecological assessment and the social, technological and economic feasibility and the company-specific feasibility.

In a number of recent trial projects, for instance, environmental indicators have been drawn up for paper, plant trays, margarines, printer ribbons, paints, light sources, insulating plates and a particular make of high performance heating boiler. It proved possible, in principle, to present L C A data in terms of environmental indicators. However, i t did not usually reduce the workload. In order to establish environmental indicators one still needs some form of life cycle assessment. A s a result, environmental indica- 20 tors a r e regarded as the results of a particular type of L C A , although the approach adopted for the LCA may vary.

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