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Keywords:

  • LCA (life cycle assessment) IE (industrial ecology) Industrial cluster;
  • Plastic recycling

Abstract

The paper presents an application of the Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) to the planning and environmental management of an “eco-industrial cluster.” A feasibility study of industrial symbiosis in southern Italy is carried out, where interlinked companies share subproducts and scraps, services, structures, and plants to reduce the related environmental impact. In particular, the research focuses on new recycling solutions to create open recycling loops in which plastic subproducts and scraps are transferred to external production systems. The main environmental benefits are the reduction of resource depletion, air emissions, and landfilled wastes. The proposed strategies are also economically viable and they suggest cost abatement for the involved companies. This research shows the need for a multidisciplinary approach to data processing and to complexity managing of the investigated systems. In this context, life-cycle thinking is required to be promoted throughout the economy, as well to be as a part of all decisions on products and other criteria such as functionality, health, and safety. The Life-Cycle Assessment approach can be assumed as a methodology for influencing decision makers to make sustainable choices. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2010; 6:52–60. © 2009 SETAC