University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherDepartment for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
Commissioning bodyDepartment for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
Number of pages84
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Jan 2020

Abstract

This study has undertaken a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for Dorel's Maxi-Cosi Pebble car seat (infant carrier). The purpose of the LCA is to compare the environmental impact performance of a 'conventional' versus a 'product service system' (PSS) approach to the purchase of a car seat. The PSS approach involves the return and refurbishment of the car seat prior to reuse, whereas the conventional approach is the sale of a completely new car seat for each customer. Consequently there should be savings in terms of the resources used and associated emissions and impacts. The LCA aims to quantify these for the conventional system and the PSS. The approach followed LCA stages and processes as defined by ISO 14040 & 14044 as far as was possible given the data available. The functional unit in this instance relates to the number of times a car seat can be refurbished and reused in the PSS. As a minimum this is two uses, but it could be more. Consequently the results are either expressed per 2 uses or as the difference per use. The performance of the PSS is expressed as an incremental increase per use, i.e. for the conventional car seat, the incremental increase is always 100% (as a new car seat is used each time), thus any incremental increases below 100% are an improvement. The LCA focuses on the resources, energy and emissions associated with the manufacture of the materials used in the car seat and the transport of the car seat. Assembly and refurbishment processes for the car seat; retail; use and end of life phases were not included. Dorel provided primary data on the quantity of different materials used to make the car seat and its replacement parts. For transport, typical/average distances were used. The remaining life cycle inventory data was all secondary data and the majority was derived from the European Life Cycle Database (ELCD), apart from data for Carbon black; Polyoxymethylene (POM) and Viscose, which are not in the ELCD so were derived from alternative sources. All data were scored (out of 25) to assess their quality, with data from the ELCD scoring 17-22 and other sources 7 to 13. The impact categories used in the LCA are those used in the ELCD. Two of these: Ionizing radiation and Land use, resulted in zero impacts, so were excluded from the results. All the impacts were normalised by expressing the values as a percentage of the impact of the average person in the European Union. In so doing this provided a basis to judge the relative significance of each impact. The car seat plus its packaging amounts of 4.7 kg of materials. The PSS replaces 1.87 kg of materials per use, thus 2.84 kg of materials directly avoid disposal per use and do not need to be replaced with new materials. This is in itself a valuable outcome of the PSS, however, there is also all the materials, energy, emissions and impacts associated with the manufacturing and transporting of those materials.

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