Perform a screening of your products environmental impact
What is the tool about?
A MECO is a screening of the environmental impact of a product in four categories Materials, Energy, Chemicals and Others distributed on at least five stages of a product life cycle; material extraction, manufacturing, transport, use and end-of-life.
The valuable outcome
Understanding of the product life cycle of the product
Pinpointing of environmental hotspots
Preparation for use
We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the approach around a MECO analysis e.g. by reading the source article that gives a practical guide to life cycle screening.
Preparation Time: 0-2 hour(s) depending on your level of experience.
Competencies involved: Sector-specific knowledge, life cycle thinking, technology, business development
Tool kit: Environmental improvement through product development is a good place to start. It is recommended to create a functional unit and to conduct a MFA before beginning on the MECO.
The steps to take
Total co-creation time: 2-7 hours.
Setting: Workshops, desktop research and possibly audits
We recommend you to have created a functional unit and conducted a mapping of material flows (e.g. product life cycle mapping or material flow analysis) before taking the following steps:
Step 1: Agree on the scope of the MECO. Is it to gain a preliminary understanding of where in the system different environmental impacts occur? Or is it to make a quantitative screening and to identify hotspots? How precise do you need the screening to be to be comfortable with the results? (1 hour)
Step 2: Allocate and discuss where different environmental impacts happen on the mapping of the material flows with post-its. (2-3 hour)
Step 3: Make the MECO table by splitting the environmental impacts into four categories. Review and discuss the table. Where do the 5 biggest impacts seem to occur (hotspots) and is it something you can change? Is there any field where there seems to occur many environmental impacts? Are you comfortable with the degree of detail to proceed or do you need to quantify the impacts? (2-3 hours)
Step 4 (optional): Quantify the tool if you estimate that you need to quantify the environmental impacts. You can either do it manually for example by following the calculation methods presented in 'Håndbog i miljøvurdering' or use a simplified life cycle tool such as CES Eco Audit.
Step 5: Discuss how you minimise the environmental impacts. What circular design or business strategies will be most effective to minimise the environmental impact?
life-cycle; life-cycle check; meco; product life-cycle; screening; materials; energy; chemicals;
Title: Product Life Cycle Check: a guide
Authored by Henrik Wenzel and Nina Caspersen, Institute for Product Development, Anders Schmidt, dk-TEKNIK Special edition adapted for course 42372, Tech.University of Denmark by dr. Michael Hauschild, September 2000.
- Not started / Understanding the potential
- Planning pilot Implementation
- Piloting initiatives
- Planning scale-up
- Scaling up initiatives / Full scale implemented
Phase of transition path
- Explore strategic opportunities
- Define direction
- Develop initiative
- Evaluate & plan implementation