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Are LCA Studies on Bulk Mineral Waste Management Suitable for Decision Support? A Critical Review

Dierks, Christian ; Hagedorn, Tabea ; Campitelli, Alessio ; Bulach, Winfried ; Zeller, Vanessa (2021):
Are LCA Studies on Bulk Mineral Waste Management Suitable for Decision Support? A Critical Review. (Publisher's Version)
In: Sustainability, 13 (9), MDPI, e-ISSN 2071-1050,
DOI: 10.26083/tuprints-00019356,

Available under: CC BY 4.0 International - Creative Commons, Attribution.

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Item Type: Article
Origin: Secondary publication via sponsored Golden Open Access
Status: Publisher's Version
Title: Are LCA Studies on Bulk Mineral Waste Management Suitable for Decision Support? A Critical Review
Language: English

Bulk mineral waste materials are one of the largest waste streams worldwide and their management systems can differ greatly depending on regional conditions. Due to this variation, the decision-making context is of particular importance when studying environmental impacts of mineral waste management systems with life cycle assessment (LCA).We follow the premise that LCA results—if applied in practice—are always used in an improvement (i.e., decision-making) context. But how suitable are existing LCA studies on bulk mineral waste management for decision support? To answer this question, we quantitatively and qualitatively assess 57 peer-reviewed bulk mineral waste management LCA studies against 47 criteria. The results show inadequacies regarding decision support along all LCA phases. Common shortcomings are insufficient attention to the specific decision-making context, lack of a consequential perspective, liberal use of allocation and limited justification thereof, missing justifications for excluded impact categories, inadequately discussed limitations, and incomplete documentation. We identified the following significant issues for bulk mineral waste management systems: transportation, the potential leaching of heavy metals, second-order substitution effects, and the choice to include or exclude avoided landfilling and embodied impacts. When applicable, we provide recommendations for improvement and point to best practice examples.

Journal or Publication Title: Sustainability
Volume of the journal: 13
Issue Number: 9
Publisher: MDPI
Collation: 27 Seiten
Classification DDC: 600 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften > 600 Technik
Divisions: 13 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Sciences > Institute IWAR
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2021 12:02
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2021 12:02
DOI: 10.26083/tuprints-00019356
Corresponding Links:
URN: urn:nbn:de:tuda-tuprints-193568
Additional Information:

Keywords: life cycle assessment; LCA; mineral waste management; CDW; slag; decision support; critical review

URI: https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/id/eprint/19356
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