Life cycle analysis of tangible assets is already a concept that accountants are familiar with. The life cycle of an asset has both direct and indirect affects on the environment. When something is purchased, it uses natural resources and when its usefulness has ended it generates waste. This impact must now be included in the life cycle analysis (Ekvali, T., Assela, G. & Bjorklund, A. et al., 2007). Research supports the necessity of life cycle assessment becoming an integral part of the EIA (Manuilova, Suibsiri, & Wilson, 2009). Life cycle assessments with an emphasis on specific applications within certain industries are being studied at an increasing rate. One example of these specific applications is the life cycle of coupled solar photocatalytic-biological processes in wastewater treatment (Munoz, Peral & Aylion et al., 2008). Much more literature exists that is industry specific.
Widheden & Ringstrom (2007) demonstrate how life cycle analysis can be used in product development. This is a relatively new concept in relation to environmental concerns, but life cycle analysis for product life has been a part of operational analysis for many years. The inclusion of the life cycle in relation to the EIA is recent development in this area. The use of discarded material is a key issue in life cycle analysis in the EIA (Thomas & McDougall, 2005). Trends in recent literature indicate that many new tools are being developed to assist accountants and operations managers in the conduct of life cycle analysis as a part of the EIA (Winkler & Bilitewski, 2007).
Comparative studies of different processes are an important tool for assessing the environmental impact of the life cycle of the product or process. One example of this type of comparative life cycle analysis is a study of landfilling vs. other forms of waste treatment (Banar, Cokaygil & Ozkan, 2009). This study may appear to only apply to the