The goal of this research work was to assist consumers in considering environmental aspects of food consumption. A simplified, modular LCA approach has been used to evaluate the impacts from the consumers’ point of view. Comparative LCA’s have been calculated for five single aspects of decisions: type of agricultural practice, origin, packaging material, type of preservation, and consumption. The inventory for one module includes the environmental impacts related to one particular product characteristic. The modular LCA allows one to investigate the trade-offs among different decision parameters. It could be shown that most of the decision parameters might have an influence on the overall impact of a vegetable product. Greenhouse production and vegetables transported by air cause the highest surplus environmental impact. For meat products, the agricultural production determines the overall environmental impact. The total impact for vegetable or meat purchases may vary by a factor of eight or two-and-a-half. Different suggestions for consumers have been ranked according to the variation of average impacts, due to a marginal change of behaviour. Avoiding air-transported food products leads to the highest decrease of environmental impacts.
The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 22, 2008
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