Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the most modern and advanced scientific tool to describe environmental and climate-related impacts of a given choice for a product from cradle to grave. Whereas the waste hierarchy indicates some general recommendations, the LCA will provide detailed and very solid scientific documentation, quantifying the environmental and climate-related impacts of a certain choice.
LCA studies are widely used by politicians and environmentalists in order to provide the best possible information for environmental and tax legislation. Consequently, such detailed LCA studies must be in line with strict international standards in order to avoid “greenwash” and manipulation by commercial or political interests. Therefore, a set of ISO standards, ISO 14040 and ISO 14044, has been drawn up, securing a high level of scientific reliability and peer review by independent researchers.
Genan has invested considerably in providing this scientific LCA documentation and used the very best international institutes to prepare and compile the studies such as Franklin Associates (USA), IFEU (Germany) and CRI and FORCE in Denmark.
The Genan LCA studies
Three major LCA-studies have been finalised over the past decade, comparing different options for disposal of end-of-life tyres. Two of these studies (one American, one European) compare the Genan concept of material recycling with co-incineration in cement kilns. The third study compares the Genan concept of material recycling with the use of end-of-life tyres as filling material, the so-called civil engineering applications. Executive summaries of all these studies are available for download.
All these studies show that compared with other options, the material recycling route offers significant benefits in all environmental and climate-related impact categories. Greenhouse gas savings are considerable, as the climate is spared of 1.1 tonnes of CO2-emissions per tonne of end-of-life tyres recycled instead of incinerated. If material recycling is compared to filling operations, savings are even higher (1.8 tonnes of CO2-emissions per tonne of end-of-life tyres).