Application of a comparative multidimensional life cycle analysis in solid waste management policy: The case of soft drink containers

Ofira Ayalon, Yoram Avnimelech, Mordechai Shechter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper describes the application of a multidimensional life cycle analysis (LCA) for packaging soft drinks in Israel. The suggested approach combines the conventional product LCA, vertical summation of all environmental burdens along the chain of production, use and disposal activities, and horizontal comparison of different products and disposal options, such as recycling, incineration or landfilling. The paper attempts to show that the most effective, as well as transparent, means of comparing packaging alternatives, is to place them on a commensurate basis, the most appropriate one being a monetary basis. Taking into account limitations and drawbacks of monetary valuation of non-market assets (namely, environmental assets), the study derived estimates of environmental benefits and damages associated with each alternative. The production of soft drinks containers in Israel, used here as an example for the above mentioned considerations, is based mainly on imported materials, since natural resources such as oil or bauxite do not exist in Israel. Locally, only direct production and pollution abatement costs are incorporated in the final bill, while global environmental burdens are excluded. Countries extracting and producing raw material for the packaging industry, in effect, grant an environmental subsidy to the final users, in this case - the Israeli user. The paper suggests that only by globalization of externalities and fully internalizing environmental costs into the price of the final product (the packaging material or the packaged product), an equitable full environmental accounting can be designed. This mechanism can be even accompanied by global trading in the relevant environmental credits. Decisions will, consequently, follow a sustainable path, in both importing and exporting countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2000


  • Environmental policy
  • Life cycle analysis
  • Soft drink bottles
  • Solid waste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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