Life Cycle Assessments of Nickel-Containing Products

As the production of nickel is only the first step in a cycle of use and re-use, there cannot be a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of nickel per se. The Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) of nickel products, however, becomes an input for all product or system LCAs that use nickel in some form. Life Cycle Assessments that compare two products or systems, one of which depends on the presence of nickel, demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits of using nickel during the end-of-life management / recycling phases.

For some products and systems, the presence or absence of nickel LCI data would make little or no difference to the LCA outcomes because the amount of nickel used is so small or the burdens (e.g., energy use, carbon and other emissions to air, water and soils) associated with other inputs and occurring during the use phase are so large that the burdens associated with the nickel become insignificant.