Transcript of "Life Cycle Analysis of a Running Shoe"
Kelly KokaiselMCAD Sp ‘10
The Product: Women’s Saucony Hurricane 7 Running ShoeThe Audience: Runners and health conscious people looking for a shoe that is comfortable and supportive. These people have disposable income and will not buy until they have found a well fitting shoe.
Saucony Hurricane 7 shoes are made in China, although Saucony claims to be a ‘Made in America’ company.The aluminum for the eyelets comes from Australia.The oil for the polymers (plastic, rubber, foam) comes from Saudi Arabia.The timber for the cardboard may come from Burma, through an illegal trade.Injection molding, stamping, and gluing are done in China.
LCA accounts for emissions, habitatalteration and resource depletionassociated with all inputs into a productthroughout the entire life cycle of aproduct.The goal of this LCA is to measure theecological performance of the product anduse those metrics to determine our bestdesign options.The scope of this LCA includes packaging.I believe that, today, the main function ofthe running shoe is comfort. I know thatshoes were originally designed forprotection from the ground and from cold,but I do not think that is true for today’smodern running shoe. Mainly I believethis because no matter how protective ashoe is, a person will not buy it if it’s notcomfortable. In the minds of today’sconsumer, the main function is comfort,comfort during work, or walking, orexercise, mainly. Therefore, as a designerof a running shoe, this must be yourutmost concern.
The Process Tree helps This process tree shows theexplore the transformation resources and material flows ofof resources and materials our Saucony running shoe. throughout the life of a product.
LCA accounts foremissions, habitatalteration andresource depletionassociated with allinputs into a productthroughout the entirelife cycle of a product.This table outlines thematerials andmultiplies theseinputs by thechemical emissions,land use, andresource depletionvalues collected foreach type of materialor process.
These impactcalculations show thatthe largest impact ofthe running shoecomes from thedisposal of metals andpolymers into landfills;95 eco-indicator pointsout of 125 total, pershoe. This shows usexactly where we canmake improvementsthat will dramaticallyimprove the impact ofthis product.
Where do you want your shoes to end up? The typical end-of-life for shoes—the landfill. *Stitching the shoe together instead of using glue not onlyFlooring made of recycled shoe bits at a London Nike store. helps to take the shoe apart to recycle, but also reduces the footprint!
The materials of a running shoe alone travel over 8,000 miles before they even make the 7,300+ milejourney from China to the US. Not to mention, the impacts of the illegal timber trade between Burma andChina. If these materials travel by freight train, that is equivalent to 160,000 lbs, or 80 tons, of CO2emissions per ton of materials moved. Another 55 tons of CO2 is emitted when the shoes travel by oceanicfreighter from China to the US , for a total of 135 tons of CO2.
The footprint could drop 14.5 Impact 99 Factor Points just in the Production Phase (out of a total of 19.5points) from using natural rubber and organic cotton instead of polymers, and eliminating the polymerprocessing. That’s a 75% impact reduction. =In addition, using recyclable, natural materials would reduce the End of Life Phase 84 of 95 Points. That’san 85% impact reduction. = These changes would result in a total 26.5 Impact Factor per shoe, instead of 125 Points., or an 80% impact reduction.
The environmental impacts of running shoes on the planet is needlessly high. Simple changes in the design drastically reduces the footprint. When you purchase your next pair of running shoes, pay particular attention to the following:*Do the shoes have a take-back or recycling program?*Where do the materials come from and where are they assembled?*Do they use natural materials that are stitched together rather than glued?These 3 recommendations will help you make an environmentally friendly choice, keeping the Earth healthy while you keep your body healthy. Thank you. Source: Okala learning ecological design
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