Life Cycle Assessment

Admin
By Admin
3 Min Read

Life cycle assessment is the study of the cradle-to-grave story of products. It covers the environmental and societal impact of individual processes, from the resource extraction and manufacturing of the product, to its disposal. The Story of the Stuff is a project that is focused on awaring the masses about the background of the products that we use. For example, if we talk about the manufacturing of plastic bottles; we know that plastic is made up of hydrocarbons derived from crude oil, and the manufacturing itself is energy-intensive. Hence, manufacturing plastic bottles is not a sustainable option. One of the famous water bottling brands published in one of its reports that “bottled water is the most environmentally responsible consumer product in the world.”

If we see the story behind the manufacturing of plastic bottles; it is not an environmentally responsible process in the first stage, and disposal of plastic bottles is another problem. Only 29.1% of plastic bottles can be recycled, mostly are downcycled, and the rest go to waste. Hence, it is useless to call bottled water is an environmentally responsible consumer product.

Whenever you want to sell something, you scare people of the problem. This is the trick that a multi-billion-dollar industry played. To sell bottled water, industrialists scared people about the unreliability of the tap water. Then again, bottled water is also tap water!

This story also tells us why societies that are based on consumerism are unhappier than those that invest money in good health care, sustainable business, and good education. It emphasizes that several toxic chemicals are used in the products. Hence, this factor should also be kept in mind while buying them.

Similarly, there are several other examples of unsustainable businesses that are the epitome of failure. In the bird’s-eye view, to think sustainably, sustainability should be at the very heart of businesses. Since, we have only one planet, and most of the resources are not renewable like zinc, coal, and water, life cycle assessment allows us to rethink our choices about the products based on their environmental impacts.

For instance, for better health care and a sustainable society, it is crucial to shift our focus from a linear economy to a circular economy for a happy and livable planet, since the cost of environmental damages outweigh the profit gained from unsustainable consumerism.

                                        

About author: Rabia Nusrat is an Environmental Engineer from University of Engineering and Technology Lahore, Pakistan. Rabia’s research interests lies in advanced oxidation processes and membrane sciences for water and wastewater treatment.

This article has been edited by Alizah Memon

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