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Opening the black box of the use phase in circular economy life cycle assessments: Environmental performance of shell jacket reuse
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Sustainability Assessment and Management. (LCA group)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2713-9582
2024 (English)In: Journal of Industrial Ecology, ISSN 1088-1980, E-ISSN 1530-9290Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is highly needed and widely used to assess the environmental performance of circular economy (CE) measures such as reusing and sharing. However, the results of such LCAs are hampered by limited knowledge about the use phase of consumer products and oversimplification of important use phase aspects such as product functionality, user behavior, displacement, and rebound effects. This paper aims to validate the usefulness of a framework designed to assist practitioners in the generation and utilization of such knowledge in LCAs of circular measures. To validate the framework, a case study is used: reuse of shell jackets enabled by “premium secondhand” stores for outdoor equipment and clothing. The paper demonstrates that conclusions about the environmental performance of reuse can easily be altered depending on the functional unit definition, whether real user behavior data are used, and whether imperfect displacement and rebound effects are considered. For instance, shell jacket life cycles that include reuse and thus may be labeled “circular” have significantly higher environmental impact per use occasion than “linear” ones (used by one principal user the entire lifespan), since “circular” shell jackets are used less frequently, in particular during their first use span. Through facilitating the generation and utilization of environmentally relevant use phase data, which are otherwise often overlooked, the framework seems capable of supporting a better understanding of the environmental performance of CE measures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley , 2024.
Keywords [en]
consumer behavior; functional unit; industrial ecology; life cycle inventory (LCI); rebound effects; secondhand markets
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Research subject
Industrial Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-345217DOI: 10.1111/jiec.13475ISI: 001193201700001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-345217DiVA, id: diva2:1850336
Funder
Mistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research, 2016/36
Note

QC 20240411

Available from: 2024-04-10 Created: 2024-04-10 Last updated: 2024-04-11Bibliographically approved

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André, Hampus

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Citation style
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