Thesis Details


Thesis Title: A methodology to develop an environmental profile of a textile product using life-cycle assessment
Thesis Author: Kathleen O'Reilly
Abstract: By taking responsibility for its products throughout their manufacture and consumers' usage, an organization will have recognized the current impact and the irreversible effects its activities can have on the future ecology. Life-cycle management is one approach to reducing the environmental burdens associated with a product. Lifecycle assessment is a tool that supports life-cycle management. The life-cycle assessment methodology involves analyzing the resources and energy consumed and the wastes generated at each stage of a product's life cycle. For this research, a methodology to develop an environmental profile for a textile product was accomplished by following a cotton-rich sweatshirt through its life cycle. By quantifying the resources and energy consumed and the wastes generated at each stage of the sweatshirt's life cycle, a better understanding of the intricate relationship among the various stages was achieved. The environmental profile showed that the consumer stage of the life cycle demanded the most resources and energy and generated the largest amount of total waste, indicating a need to educate consumers on more efficient laundering and disposal practices. Polyester manufacturing consumed a substantial amount of energy and released the most air emissions, yet comprised only 4.3 % of the shirt's composition. Collectively, textile manufacturing contributed only 6 % to the total solid waste produced. However, this amounted to 25 % of the sweatshirt's total weight.