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Comparing the Environmental Footprints of Home-Care and Personal-Hygiene Products: The Relevance of Different Life-Cycle Phases

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ETH Zurich, Institute of Environmental Engineering, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland
* Corresponding author e-mail: [email protected]; phone: +41-44-633-4992; fax: +41-44-633-1061.
Cite this: Environ. Sci. Technol. 2009, 43, 22, 8643–8651
Publication Date (Web):October 21, 2009
https://doi.org/10.1021/es901236f
Copyright © 2009 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract

    An in-depth life-cycle assessment of nine home-care and personal-hygiene products was conducted to determine the ecological relevance of different life-cycle phases and compare the environmental profiles of products serving equal applications. Using detailed data from industry and consumer-behavior studies a broad range of environmental impacts were analyzed to identify the main drivers in each life-cycle stage and potentials for improving the environmental footprints. Although chemical production significantly adds to environmental burdens, substantial impacts are caused in the consumer-use phase. As such, this research provides recommendations for product development, supply chain management, product policies, and consumer use. To reduce environmental burdens products should, for instance, be produced in concentrated form, while consumers should apply correct product dosages and low water temperatures during product application.

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    In-depth descriptions of methods applied, calculation procedures, and detailed results for all environmental indicators chosen. This material is available free of charge via the Internet at http://pubs.acs.org.

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