NREL’s “LifeCycle Inventory” approach to determining social and environmental impact:
The U.S. Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) Database helps answer questions about environmental impact. This database provides individual gate-to-gate, cradle-to-gate and cradle-to-grave accounting of the energy and material flows into and out of the environment that are associated with producing a material, component, or assembly in the U.S. A life cycle assessment (LCA) is a systematic, cradle-to-grave process that evaluates the environmental impacts of products, processes, and services. This is one way to get our arms around the true costs and impact of our typical waste stream.
More @: http://www.nrel.gov/lci/