Lifecycle assessment (LCA) of kerbside recycling 2015

Last updated: 23 July 2021

Sustainability Victoria commissioned RMIT University to undertake a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of kerbside recycling in Victoria. LCA is a scientific method that measures environmental impacts over the life cycle of a product, service or system.

The purpose of the study was to demonstrate the environmental benefits and impacts of kerbside recycling to help local government, business and households understand the importance of recycling not just in the use of materials but also in other environmental areas such as greenhouse gas reductions and water savings.

The project produced a calculator and a report – more information on each is below.

Report: Lifecycle assessment (LCA) of kerbside recycling

The LCA assesses the environmental benefits or burdens of recycling activity in Victoria.

Calculator: kerbside recycling in Victoria

This is the first time in Victoria that an LCA kerbside recycling calculator is available for the public to use. The calculator is an interactive tool that can determine the environmental benefits of recycling in terms of greenhouse gases, energy and water savings.

How to use the calculator

The 'kerbside' version requires users (e.g. local government) to enter material streams (e.g. aluminium cans) in tonnages and the 'household' version requires users (e.g. individuals) to enter materials used on a weekly basis (e.g. newspapers) and calculates an annual environmental benefit derived from recycling the products you put into your recycling bin. The calculator computes the environmental benefits for greenhouse gases, water and energy savings.

Why use the calculator

The kerbside calculator can assist councils and business to estimate the full environmental benefits of recycling. The calculations can also inform your own communications and reporting about kerbside collection services and the environmental benefits in an easily understandable way.

For householders the calculator demonstrates the benefits of recycling and enables you to see what is achievable through simple recycling habits.