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Open AccessArticle

Combining Life Cycle Assessment and Circularity Assessment to Analyze Environmental Impacts of the Medical Remanufacturing of Electrophysiology Catheters

Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT, 46047 Oberhausen, Germany
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Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 898; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020898
Received: 14 December 2020 / Revised: 9 January 2021 / Accepted: 13 January 2021 / Published: 17 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
Sustaining value after the end-of-life to improve products’ circularity and sustainability has attracted an increasing number of industrial actors, policymakers, and researchers. Medical products are considered to have great remanufacturing potential because they are often designated as single-use products and consist of various complex materials that cannot be reused and are not significant in municipal recycling infrastructure. The remanufacturing of electrophysiology catheters is a well-established process guaranteeing equivalent quality compared to virgin-produced catheters. In order to measure if using a remanufactured product is environmentally beneficial compared to using a virgin product, life cycle assessment (LCA) is often used. However, focusing on one life cycle to inform on the environmental-beneficial use fails to guide policymakers from a system perspective. This study analyzes the environmental consequences of electrophysiology catheters considering two modeling perspectives, the implementation of LCA, including a cut-off approach and combining LCA and a circularity indicator measuring multiple life cycles. Investigating the LCA results of using a remanufactured as an alternative to a newly-manufactured catheter shows that the global warming impact is reduced by 50.4% and the abiotic resource use by 28.8%. The findings from the system perspective suggest that the environmental savings increase with increasing collection rates of catheters. View Full-Text
Keywords: LCA; circular economy; circularity; circular economy indicator; case study; medical products; global warming impact; abiotic resource use; circular product use LCA; circular economy; circularity; circular economy indicator; case study; medical products; global warming impact; abiotic resource use; circular product use
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schulte, A.; Maga, D.; Thonemann, N. Combining Life Cycle Assessment and Circularity Assessment to Analyze Environmental Impacts of the Medical Remanufacturing of Electrophysiology Catheters. Sustainability 2021, 13, 898. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020898

AMA Style

Schulte A, Maga D, Thonemann N. Combining Life Cycle Assessment and Circularity Assessment to Analyze Environmental Impacts of the Medical Remanufacturing of Electrophysiology Catheters. Sustainability. 2021; 13(2):898. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020898

Chicago/Turabian Style

Schulte, Anna; Maga, Daniel; Thonemann, Nils. 2021. "Combining Life Cycle Assessment and Circularity Assessment to Analyze Environmental Impacts of the Medical Remanufacturing of Electrophysiology Catheters" Sustainability 13, no. 2: 898. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020898

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