An Overview of Circular Economy-Life Cycle Assessment Framework
Ngan, Seok Peng
Ngan, Sue Lin
Lam, Hon Loong

How to Cite

Ngan S.P., Ngan S.L., Lam H.L., 2021, An Overview of Circular Economy-Life Cycle Assessment Framework, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 88, 1123-1128.


The increasing concern on the world waste issue has speed up the adoption of the circular economy model to replace the conventional “take, make, use, dispose” linear economy model. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been widely used in the past to identify and evaluate the inputs and outputs of different activities carried out in a linear economy model. With more and more industry transition from linear economy model to Circular Economy (CE) model, especially in developed nations particularly Europe, United States and China, it is imperative for the LCA to consider the circularity relationship of resources in its framework to enhance the effectiveness of LCA. One of the fundamental principles of circular economy is that material waste is avoided by prioritizing the end-of-use capture of materials to create a positive value-driven closed loop. Nonetheless, the literature that include or integrate the circularity elements into the LCA framework remains limited. Anecdotal evidence has suggested that it is due to some limitations and barriers, including but not limited to industry acceptance level, high transition cost, lack of know-how expertise to enable the evaluation and others. In this work, the overview of the research and development towards the application of LCA to support CE strategies are reviewed. The limitations and challenges to apply LCA for a circular economy model are also identified to propose recommendations to extend the current application of LCA for a more robust strategy that capture the value of the reuse, recycle, remanufactured, repurposed resources and the potential upstream and downstream impacts for better decisions for sustainability. A case study in the palm oil industry is also presented to illustrate the possible development of CE-LCA framework in the context of developing countries.