Eco-functional assessment combined with life cycle analysis: Concept and applications

Subramanian Senthilkannan Muthu, Y. Li, J. Y. Hu, Pik Yin Mok

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Functional and ecological properties combined with consumer behaviour are the key aspects influencing the implications for the environment of a product. The concept of combining these properties in a single platform is demonstrated by considering the shopping bags used for grocery purposes as an example. An eco-functional assessment combined with the life cycle assessment study was conducted to assess the influence of functional, ecological properties and consumer behaviour on carbon footprint, ecological footprint and eco-damage throughout the life cycle of various shopping bags. Four Research questions expressed as hypotheses were formulated to identify the contribution of each phase in the life cycle to the final life cycle impact of the shopping bags. Carbon footprint, ecological footprint and eco-damage assessments were made to quantify the life cycle impacts of each phase of the various shopping bags with the aid of SIMAPRO version 7.3 of LCA software. The LCA results revealed that each phase of life cycle impacted the final result and the reusable bags outscored single use bags in all three territories. Nonwoven bags made out of polypropylene followed by polyester and woven cotton bags caused fewer life cycle impacts. Also the life cycle impacts of shopping bags used by an average Indian were found to be less compared to those for Chinese and Hong Kong residents. Even a small contribution from the consumer's side, to reuse a bag one more time, would make a great difference in terms of mitigating environmental impact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-450
Number of pages16
JournalEnergy Education Science and Technology Part A: Energy Science and Research
Volume29
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012

Keywords

  • Consumer behaviour
  • Ecological properties
  • Functional properties
  • Functional unit
  • Shopping bags

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)

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