Life Cycle Analysis and Sustainability
Consumerism is the driving force in today’s society and every choice that we make at the checkout line is ultimately a feedback signal. When we make selections at the store we are telling producers what we want and use on a daily basis. Making informed choices is first step in sustainable living. Small choices make more of an impact than you may think and an even larger one when applying your educated decisions to bigger purchases. Often times we have a tendency to gravitate towards the cheapest item and think in a short term mentality. However, to live more sustainably we need to undergo a paradigm shift that encourages an understanding of consumer habits and the true environmental and social cost. It is crucial to think about the long run and even more so when making decisions about buying or installing more expensive items.Drinking out of a reusable mug will cut down on paper cup usage!
When we talk about sustainability it is important to examine the life cycle of a object in question, including production, use and the ultimate disposal. Take the example of paper cups versus polyfoam (Styrofoam). The common assumption is that polyfoam cups are much worse for the environment, mostly because we can see the direct persistence of their pollution in oceans, roadsides or parks. Interestingly enough if you really break it down, paper cups are much more energy and resource intensive. Paper cups are made from wood and bark, actually use more petroleum in the production process than polyfoam (which are almost entirely made of petroleum products). A paper cup if not properly disposed of (completely burned) the adhesives that are used to stick the paper together will linger in the environment. They also use more chemical products like chlorine and bleach, overall creating an item thats environmental cost is almost two and a half times as much as its polyfoam competitor1. People are also more likely to reuse polyfoam and typically toss out paper cups after one use, because of their rapid disintegration. If polyfoam cups were properly incinerated after their disposal the impact would be drastically less than that of paper cups. The point to make here is that we must look past the popular misconceptions of what are “good” and “bad” products and adopt a critical perspective on our consumerism.
The experts at Turfinet can help you apply life cycle analysis and sustainable concepts to your landscaping. In the long term installing synthetic turf will save you significantly on your water use, expenditures on maintenance, and decrease your inputs of harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides into the environment. Synthetic turf can also be used as an alternative low grade fuel at the end of its lifetime, thus making the disposal process more efficient.
Don’t hesitate to consult the Turfinet team to brainstorm sustainable ideas for your yard and investigate further the lifecycle of your landscape!
Key terms: Sustainability, synthetic turf, life cycle analysis, consumerism.
1 “An Introduction to Sustainable Development”. Peter P Rogers, Kazi F Jalal & John A Boyd