Speciality productions

A speciality production is an activity that is dependent on a material for treatment as an input, but which is not a treatment activity.

A speciality production is distinguished from a treatment activity by having a positive determining product, which is not the material for treatment. 

Often there is relative little demand for the demand of a speciality product (hence the name). The material for treatment is not exhausted by the demand from the speciality production. In a hypothetical situation with a high demand for a speciality production, the volume of the activity would ultimately be constrained by the availability of the material for treatment. If all the material for treatment available were to be used by speciality productions, at least one of these (typically the least competitive) would necessarily be deemed a treatment activity since its production volume would be determined by the availability of the remaining material for treatment (after the other speciality activities have taken their share).

An additional demand from the speciality production reduces the amount of the material that goes to the marginal treatment activity for the material. If the speciality production is an activity that produces products that are labelled as based on a specified percentage of recycled material, the displaced marginal treatment activities may well be other recycling activities with less fixed requirements on the input, which means that the net effect of the additional demand will not change the overall amount of material recycling but only the relative proportions of recycled material in different products. 

A situation that might be confused with a speciality production is when a production is the marginal treatment option for a waste, without the production being dependent on this waste, i.e. while having another product (not a treatment service) as determining product. The use of cement kilns as the ultimate disposal option for old tyres is such a case. Here the cement production is not dependent on the input of old tyres, but the old tyres substitute other fuels in a mixture based on what is available. This system can be seen as a combined production (of cement and waste treatment) and is modelled as such.

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How to cite this: 
Consequential-LCA (2015). Speciality productions. Last updated: 2015-10-27. www.consequential-lca.org