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Life cycle assessment of spring mattress Essay

Hendrickson, et al (2006) posits that: “LCA requires careful energy and materials balances for all the stages of the life cycle”. The life cycle of a spring mattress is made up of many processes. The life cycle or “cradle to grave’ of a spring mattress can be said to consist of the following five stages: a) extraction of raw materials (cradle), b) production of materials, c) production of spring mattress, d) use of the spring mattress, e) disposal of the spring mattress (grave).

The function of the product system is to evaluate the extraction of the raw materials, the processing of the raw materials, the manufacturing and fabrication of the product, the distribution of the product, and the use of the product by the consumer and the disposal of the product when it is no longer useful. The functional unit. A spring mattress has a clear cut primary function: providing a resting or sleeping surface, but there are also other types of mattresses that serve the same purpose. Life cycle assessments usually serve to compare different products that have the same function.

The functional unit is a quantitative description of the function of the product. The functional unit is a key element of LCA which has to be clearly defined. It should be based on the standard use of the product and is the main reason for which the product is bought. The functional unit is the measure of the function of the studied product and it provides a reference to which the inputs and outputs can be related. This makes it possible to compare two different products that serve the same purpose.

The functional unit of a spring mattress may be defined as the length of time it stays fit for use. The system boundaries. According to ISO 14041 standards,” the system boundaries define the unit process to be included in the system to be modeled”. The system boundaries determine which unit Life cycle assessment of spring mattress. processes to be included in the LCA study. Subjective choice is partly used to define system boundaries. For system boundaries of a spring mattress, the following can be considered:

1) Boundaries between the technological system and nature. The life cycle normally begins at the point of extraction of the raw materials (used to manufacture the product) and energy carriers from nature. 2) System boundaries should cover the same reality in all scenarios. 3) Usually, the choice of geographical boundaries is not relevant because system boundaries are related to a function and not a region. 4) Only processes with relevant extractions or emissions will be considered. A screening approach is used to focus only on main contributions.

Contributions from the production of capital goods (like trucks, machines); personal related processes (like factory canteens, commuting) and production of materials representing less than 5% of the product mass are not taken into consideration. Impact assessment methodology and interpretation. The aim of impact assessment is to evaluate the significance of potential environmental impacts using the results from the LCI phase. Environmental impacts are quantified as far as possible in an LCA. For this quantification, the classification and characterization methodologies are used.

Classification is the assignment of individual inventory parameters to impact categories, e. g. , acidification or green house effect. Characterization is the conversion of LCI units into common units within each impact category with the aid of equivalence factors. In the LCA for a spring mattress, the following environmental impact categories should be considered: abiotic recourse depletion (exhaust), greenhouse effect (global warming), human toxicity, acidification, ozone depletion, landscape depletion, nuisance and solid waste. In the interpretation phase, conclusions are Life cycle assessment of spring mattress.

Reached and recommendations are made in accordance with the defined goal and scope of the study. Ciambrone (1997) posits that: “The environmental lifecycle analysis methodology has three basic components. These components overlap and build on each other to develop a life cycle analysis. The three components are: a) Inventory analysis. b) Impact analysis. c) Improvement analysis”. References. Ciambrone, D. 1997. Environmental Life Cycle Analysis. Hendrickson, C et al, 2006. Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Goods and Services, An Input-Output Approach. ISO 14041 Standards.

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