Avoided burden is an approach used in life cycle assessment (LCA), Especially in the context of allocating environmental burden in the presence of recycling or reuse . When determining the overall environmental impact of a product, the product is given „credit“ for the potential recycled material. For instance, PET bottles may be given as a credit for PET. [1] This credit is termed „avoided burden“ because it refers to the impact of virgin material production that is avoided by the use of recycled material.

Material displacement

The extent to which the material is used in the production of a material of a similar nature. [2] In case studies, typically using heuristic , arbitrary rules, such as assigning 100%, 50%, or 0% displacement of virgin material by recycled material. [1] [3] However, accurate information on the displacement of various materials is largely unknown. This information is important to LCA practitioners, as it can often be compared to other products or materials. quote needed ]


Although it is generally calculated as follows: [3]

Avoided Burden = (Material Recycling Rate) × ( Functional Unit ) × [(Impact of Virgin Production) – (Impact of Recycling)]


  1. ^ Jump up to:b Nicholson, Anna. „LCA allocation methods in open-loop recycling: sourcing and creation of recyclable recycled materials“ (PDF) . Retrieved April 1, 2011 .
  2. Jump up^ Blomberg; Hellmer (2000). „Short-run demand and supply elasticities in the West European market for secondary aluminum“. Resources Policy .
  3. ^ Jump up to:b Geyer Roland. „Life Cycle Inventory Analysis“ . Archived from the original on 9 July 2010 . Retrieved April 1, 2011 .