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Life cycle

Life cycle, in the context of life-cycle assessment and carbon footprint analysis, refers to the entirety of phases a product or system passes through from its development, through to its use and, eventually, how it is managed as waste. A life cycle is generally understood to start at the growing and harvesting or mining of raw materials and to end when a product is disposed of as waste. While waste management is thought to be a part of a product’s life cycle, potential recycling is generally considered to be part of the life cycles of other, new products. For example, the life cycle of a loaf of bread may be thought to consist of the following phases: the growing and harvesting of corn and other ingredients (including pre-production of inputs such as fertilisers), their transport to a bakery, bread production, transport and retail, consumption and waste.