Influence of consumer behaviour and governmental policies in China, Hong Kong and India: An eco- impact assessment study of reusable shopping bags

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

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides details of a research project about the eco-impact of nonwoven and woven bags using the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) technique and three different options. The three different options were as follows: usage and disposal criteria with the existing usage behaviour to reuse and governmental policies to recycle (option1), usage and disposal criteria as per consumer's perception if systems are in place (option2) and usage and disposal criteria in case of absence of recycling systems (option3). The first case, which was the bottom-line for other options, involved the study of the eco-impact of nonwoven and woven bags in their manufacturing phase, without considering their usage and disposal phases. The LCIA was accomplished by means of the Eco-indicator 99, a damage-oriented method for LCIA in SIMAPRO 7.2. The single score values calculated by the Eco-indicator 99 were used to compare the environmental impact made by these bags and a detailed explanation of results is provided in this paper. The next stage was the study of the eco-impact of these bags including their usage and disposal phases. This was undertaken with the three different options as stated above and the results derived were compared with the results derived from the baseline case, which was the focus of the study under discussion. The values for usage and end-of-life phases were obtained from the questionnaire survey of different user groups of shopping bags in China, Hong Kong and India. The results show that the eco-impact of nonwoven and woven bags is very high if there are no usage and disposal options provided. When the eco-impact values from options of existing possibilities and consumers' perceptions were compared, it was found that the eco-impact value was lower in option 1 in all the three territories for both types of bags, which was mainly attributed to the fact for option 1, a higher percentage of reuse was preferred to recycle and landfill categories. The eco-impact of these two types of bags was also studied with and without the presence of recycling systems in China, India and Hong Kong, where the eco-impact was lower due to the presence of recycling systems. These results indicate that a higher percentage of reuse could significantly reduce the eco-impact of nonwoven and woven bags.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1131-1144
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy Education Science and Technology Part A: Energy Science and Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Disposal to landfill
  • Eco-indicator' 99
  • Life cycle impact assessment
  • Recycle
  • Reuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)

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