Life-cycle assessment (LCA, also known as life-cycle analysis, ecobalance, and cradle-to-grave analysis) is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life, from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling. Designers use this process to help critique their products. LCAs can help avoid a narrow outlook on environmental concerns, by:
Compiling an inventory of relevant energy and material inputs and environmental releases.
Evaluating the potential impacts associated with identified inputs and releases.
Interpreting the results to help make a more informed decision.