Environmental impacts of shoe consumption, Combining product flow analysis with an LCA model for Sweden

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master Thesis
Industrial ecology (MPTSE), MSc
Gottfridsson, Marie
Zhang, Yuqing
In today’s society, the increasing consumption and its impact on the environment is a relevant issue. The global market situation and varying environmental standards makes it even more complicated. Therefore, a focus on the life cycle of products including material flows in the society is necessary to improve environmental work and reduce environmental impacts. In this thesis, the shoe consumption in Sweden and its environmental impacts was analyzed between 2000 and 2010 with a model approaching life cycle assessment, product flow analysis and material flow alysis. The consumption was defined as the net inflow of shoes into Sweden during one year, no life time was considered. The shoes were categorized according to the CN system used for trade and statistics, which generated six shoe groups involving waterproof, rubber & plastic, leather, textile, others and shoe parts. Four impact categories involving acidification, eutrophication, global warming and POCP were included. According to this study, the shoe consumption in Sweden increased by 20% during 2000 and 2010. In 2010, the total consumption was dominated by rubber & plastic shoes, 36%, leather shoes, 24%, and textile shoes, 22%. Most shoes consumed in Sweden are imported from Asia, while an increase in Asian import from 56% to 63% can be seen during 2000 and 2010. The shoes contributing most to the environmental impact of the Swedish shoe consumption in 2010 were leather shoes, up to 50%, rubber & plastic shoes, up to 26% and textile shoes, up to 17%. For the included impact categories, one pair of leather shoes show up to 3 times higher impact compared to an average shoe. The results show that material production corresponds to the highest impact with 80% of the total life cycle. The most contributing materials per kilogram included leather, wool, nylon, aluminium, synthetic rubber, PET plastic, PU plastic and viscose. For the Swedish shoe consumption, the environmental impact of leather was dominating for all impact categories followed by synthetic rubber, natural rubber, cotton, wool and various plastics. The impact changes according to the net inflow, but is also affected by conditions in import countries and material content in shoes. Natural textile and wood materials are preferable compared to leather, rubber and synthetic fibers with regard to environmental impact. Thus, an increase in consumption of some shoe groups such as leather shoes might then generate higher impact than others.
Hållbar utveckling , Annan geovetenskap och miljövetenskap , Sustainable Development , Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
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Geografisk plats
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Teknik / material