Ice cream maker DFE
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This page examines the impact on the environment that the ice cream maker produt has both during it's manufacturing and throughout it's life.
Life Cycle Assessment
A Life cycle assessment (LCA) accounts for the impacts that the Ice cream maker has on the environment throughout it life. The manufactoring and use of the product are a system that has inputs from different economic sectors. An Economic Input-Output LCA (EIO-LCA) analyizes these inputs to the system. All data from this EIO-LCA is from 1997 and avialble from the LAC software at http://www.eiolca.net and the Bureau of Economic Analysis at http://bea.gov.
The Ice cream maker fits best into the "Electric housewares and household fan manufacturing" sector. As a small home appliance without a large refrigerator component it is closer in assembly to a food processor or a blender then a commericial ice cream maker. Household electric fans and different types of small cooking appliances are largely representative of this sector, and are assembled very similarly to the ice cream maker (just geared differently) this isn't a terrible approximation.
The top greenhouse gas producing sectors related to ice cream maker production are:
Power generation and supply
Iron and steel mills
Electric housewares and household fan manufactoring,
Waste management and remediation services
Primary aluminium production
Paper and paperboard mills
Oil and gas extraction
Plastics material and resin manufacturing
Other nonmetallic mineral mining
|Total for all Sectors||693.||598.||54.1||10.7||30.5|
The top toxic waste producing sectors associated with the ice cream maker product are:
Electric housewares and household fan manufacturing
Plastics material and resin manufacturing
Plastics plumbing fixtures and all other plastics products
Other basic organic chemical manufacturing
Primary aluminum production
The components of the ice cream maker that are the most related to the production of toxic waste or the plastic parts; the gears, housing, lid, and mixing arm. As well as the aluminum in the mixing bowl.
This type of product is loargely shipped using truck transporation which is a huge contributor to the Greenhouse Gas emissions. Switching over to a purchessor price model of the production system causes a 45.9% increase in the amount of economic activity in the truck transportation sector. This increase it due to the after production shipping, the transportation of the product to the retail location. The GWP emissions only move by about 30 CO2 equivalents when the shipping to retail is considtered. This amount is less significant when compared to the total GWP emissions for production which is around 600 CO2 equivalents.
The power output of the ice cream maker motor is 50 watts and is expected to run for about 20 mins per use time. The number of lifetime uses probably varries widely with the customer. The product is covered by a three year limited warrenty so an estiment of product life might be three or four times that length. If a user makes ice cream twice a month for 9 to 12 years that means running the machine for 8 hours a year and 72 to 96 hours over it's lifetime. That means the ice cream maker costs about 3.6 to 4.8 kilowatt hours for an avreage user over itslifetime.
According to the Energy Information Administrations (http://eia.doe.gov) in 1997 the average price of 1 Residential KwH in PA was 10.07 cents. The average consumer when then have to pay around $0.42 to run the ice cream maker over it's estimated lifetime. Between now and 1997 there's been 27.23% inflation according to http://inflationdata.com. This indications that a $50 ice cream maker in 2007 is equivelent to about $40 ice cream maker of 1997. $1 million dollars worth of ice cream makers operating in 1997 would cost about $10,500 in use over their lifetime, in 1997 money. An EIO-LCA based on this amount of power generation produces about 110 GWP CO2 equivalents. This indicates that the main source of emissions occurs during the production portion of the product lifecycle.
End of Life
The most significant assesment on end of life of the porduct is the explicit instructions not to attempt to fix the product if it breaks. Dissaassembly requires special tools which make product repairs difficult or impossible. This means that once something inside the ice cream maker breaks it is unlikely that it could be economical to fix it. This leads to an increased generation of waste associated with the product since it's more likely that the entire ice cream maker will be discarded rather then repaired.
While this LCA is a rough estiment of the impact of the ice cream maker the following possibilites emerge as sources of a more environmentally friendly design
- Redisign maufacturing plant to cut down on necessary power. The biggest source of greenhouse gas is the power necessary in the production phase. Techniques such as the use of easier to assemble plastic-hook fasteners on the base may get rid of some of the necessary parts and cut down on the use of power tools
- The internal mechinisms are fairly simple, the product's lifespan could be extended indefinatly with easy to fix modular companents that could be serviced at home.
- Cutting back on some of the plastic, or a more compacted design could reduce the need for as much toxic waste producing plastic manufacturing.
- While not as significant as the production, an optional use handcrack could reduce need for electricty while running the product and increase the potential user interaction with the ice cream maker.
There is a level of uncertainty in this LCA since the household Ice cream maker is not specifically listed in any of the sectors. The sector of Electric housewares and household fan manufacturing does fit the product well. There are still several elements of this sector that do not line up, a lot of the products have heating elements or other kind of materials used in construction (there is very little Iron or steel in the ice cream maker, yet this sector appears sixth in Economic Activity).