August 2018. The publication on ‘Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) of Selected Worst Practices in Secondary Metals Recovery’ presents a unique work developed by Ecoinvent and the World Resources Forum (WRF) under the Sustainable Recycling Industries (SRI) Programme. The report sheds lights on the severe environmental impacts of the selected worst practices and identifies, quantifies and presents their environmental impacts based on Life Cycle Assessments.

This report addresses a non-researched area and attempts to provide recommendations to move towards good practices in recycling activities. It supports the implementation of the ISO IWA 19:2017 Guidance Principles for the Sustainable Management of Secondary Metals, which identified nine most prevalent ‘worst practices’ in developing countries resulting in dramatic environmental and social impacts. To improve the understanding of the impacts of the selected ‘worst practices’, LCAs were developed in consultation with global experts from the SRI Programme and was reviewed by ecoinvent. The three selected types of ‘worst practices’ addressed are:

  • Open burning of end-of-life tyres (ELT)
  • Open burning of waste electrical and electronic cables
  • Uncontrolled dismantling of refrigerators

This report describes the methodology employed and the assumptions taken to estimate the life cycle impacts of the ‘worst practices’ selected. Afterwards, results and hotspots are discussed and alternative ‘good practices’ presented.

>>Read the report