2003 Volume 44 Issue 7 Pages 1232-1236
A new and simple concept is proposed for the systematic and quantitative assessment of the technical, economic and ecological aspects of the ecological compatibility of materials and products. This concept can serve for prospective accounting of eco-compatibility in research and development, and for comparisons of alternative technological solutions. It is based on considering six stages of the life cycle and six efficiency parameters for each stage. The ensuing matrix elements can be selected for qualitative or quantitative analysis. The elementary quantitative treatment is based on suitably defined efficiency parameters. This concept alleviates the treatment of a complete life cycle analysis and inventory computation and is particularly useful when a simple and yet concise insight into selected aspects of eco-compatibility of a material or product is required. Economical aspects are introduced regarding minimum energy and material requirements and as a cost difference parameter in comparative treatments. Examples are given to demonstrate the appropriate selection of aspects to be analysed for a particular assessment and to introduce the specific formulation of pertinent efficiency parameters. Thus, the simplicity and transparency of the method and its results is demonstrated.