Quantification of environmental impact and ecological sustainability for textile fibres

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

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports the development of a unique model to quantify the environmental impact made by various textile fibres and also to position them in terms of ecological sustainability. A wide range of textile fibres and the major contributing factors in terms of environmental impact during manufacturing phase (starting from growth/extraction stage to production of a useful fibre which can be spun) have been selected. Amount of oxygen produced/carbon-di-oxide absorbed consequently contributing to off-set global warming during the production phase of a fibre, utilisation of renewable resources, land use, usage of fertilisers and pesticides, fibre recyclability and biodegradability of chosen fibres have been considered. Amount of energy consumed, quantity of water utilised and amount of green house gases emitted have been considered for life cycle inventory (LCI) and a life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) study has been accomplished to derive certain impact categories pertaining to the damage created to human health, ecosystem quality and resources, which will elucidate the characteristics of ecological sustainability. A scoring system based on the above mentioned factors which predominantly determine ecological sustainability has been framed, from which an Environmental Impact index (EI) has been developed. Further, an Ecological Sustainability Index (ESI) has been derived from EI values for the chosen fibres. According to this system, organic cotton is the most and acrylic is the least preferred fibre. A sensitivity study has been done to check the robustness of the developed model and the results of the same have been reported.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Indicators
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012


  • Cradle to gate
  • Ecological Sustainability Index
  • Environmental Impact Index
  • Life cycle impact assessment
  • Photosynthesis effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantification of environmental impact and ecological sustainability for textile fibres'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this