Scientific Foundations

While recyclability is already a familiar concept to many consumers from the media, only a few are familiar with the impact categories of the simplified life cycle analysis.

Therefore, their impact categories are explained here in the following.

Further information can be found in the source used:

European Commission, Recommendation 2013/179/EU on the use of common methods to measure and communicate the life cycle environmental performance of products and organisations, Off. J. Eur. Union, 56 (2013) 210.


EF impact category that deals with the effects due to acidifying agents in the environment. Emissions of NOx, NH3, and SOx result in the release of hydrogen ions (H+) when the gases are mineralized. The protons contribute to soil and water acidification when released in areas with low buffering capacity. This leads to forest dieback and lake acidification.

Climate Change

Any input or output that results in greenhouse gas emissions. Consequences include rising average temperatures and sudden regional climate changes. Climate change affects the environment worldwide.

Ecotoxicity, freshwater

EF impact category for toxic effects on an ecosystem that harm individual species and alter ecosystem structure and function. Ecotoxicity is the result of a variety of different toxicological mechanisms triggered by the release of substances that directly affect the health of the ecosystem.


Nutrients (mainly nitrogen and phosphorus) from sewers and fertilized agricultural land accelerate the growth of algae and other vegetation in the water. The decomposition of organic material consumes oxygen, resulting in an oxygen deficit and, in some cases, fish kills. Eutrophication converts the amount of input material into a uniform measure that corresponds to the oxygen required to break down dead biomass. Three EF impact categories are used to evaluate eutrophication impacts: Eutrophication - Land, Eutrophication - Freshwater, Eutrophication - Marine.

Human toxicity – carcinogenic

EF effect category for adverse effects on human health of ingestion of toxic substances by air inhalation, ingestion with food/water, penetration through skin, as far as they are related to cancer.

Human toxicity - non-carcinogenic

EF effect category for the adverse effects on human health of ingestion of toxic substances by air inhalation, ingestion with food/water, penetration through the skin, as far as they do not concern carcinogenic effects not caused by particulate matter/emissions of inorganic substances or ionizing radiation.

Land Use

EF impact category for the use (land occupancy) and transformation (transformation) of land areas in activities such as agriculture, forestry, road and housing construction, mining, etc. For land occupancy, the impacts of land use, the size of the area occupied, and the duration of occupancy are of concern (quality changes multiplied by area and duration). For land conversion, the extent of change in the property profile of the land area and the size of the affected area are considered (quality changes multiplied by area).

Ozone Depletion

EF impact category for stratospheric ozone depletion due to emissions of ozone-depleting substances, e.g., long-lived chlorine and bromine-containing gases (e.g., CFCs, HCFCs, halons).

Photochemical formation of ozone

EF impact category for the formation of ground-level tropospheric ozone by photochemical oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide (CO) when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sunlight are present. High concentrations of ground-level tropospheric ozone have a detrimental effect on vegetation, human respiratory tract, and artificial materials by reacting with organic matter.

Particulate matter

EF impact category for adverse human health effects caused by emissions of particulate matter (PM) and its precursors (NOx, SOx, NH3).

Resource use, fossil

EF impact category for the use of non-renewable fossil natural resources (e.g., natural gas, coal, oil).

Resource use, minerals and metals

EF impact category for the use of non-renewable abiotic natural resources (minerals and metals).

Water Use

The relatively available water remaining in a watershed after meeting the needs of people and aquatic ecosystems per area. The potential for water shortages for people or ecosystems is assessed, assuming that the less water that remains per area, the more likely another user will suffer shortages (see also:

Sie sind am Packaging Cockpit interessiert?