The Verdi Impact Modeling Process
Understanding the life cycle impacts of products is a key element in helping move the circular economy forward. At Verdi, we are committed to continuously refining our science-based approach to impact assessment and to remaining a productive partner in this transition.
We begin by separating a product into its constituent elements. For a product in question, we want to know what it is made of; we want to understand the different resources, such as plastic, copper, glass, integrated circuits, and so on, that are brought together to make this product real.
We run an EPA-validated model to estimate the total life cycle impacts of these various resources. We want to understand the impacts in producing these resources, in recycling or landfilling these resources, and in returning these resources back into the marketplace in the form of refurbished products.
We combine the various resource-level impact data into product-level estimates. It is somewhat like running back through our two previous steps in reverse. We need to break-down a product into its consistent elements to be able to more accurately model life-cycle impacts, but then we need to bring it all back together so we can make sense of it. Afterall, that blender you might be considering is made of metals, plastics, circuit boards, and LED lights.
When it comes to impact modeling, there are always assumptions and uncertainties and that is why results are presented as estimates and not as conclusive facts. In an effort to standardize the effects of assumptions and uncertainties, we group products into similar categories, such as Small Kitchen Appliances, Personal Electronic Devices, or Large Home Office Appliances, as examples, and communicate our impact estimates at the category-level. We are always refining our modeling process, bringing in novel data, and adding more specific product categories in efforts to improve the accuracy of our estimates.