Reliability of chemical-related environmental footprint of products
The large number of chemicals in use, differences in product consumption and consumer behaviour, as well as differences in wastewater treatment technologies makes the development of chemical footprints for consumer products challenging.
The goal of the chemical footprint project is to develop and apply a model framework to quantify the variability in chemical exposure and impact associated with the life cycle of consumer products. Ultimately, the developed tool will help to improve the reliability of state-of-the-art Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of consumer products. This will be useful to support decision making upon a product’s development and reduce its potential future impact on the environment.
Throughout the project, special attention will be given to the distribution and use phase of consumer products. Emissions to the sewage system will be estimated based on distribution sales data, GDP, population density and consumer behaviour. The variability of available wastewater treatment options will be assessed in order to quantify the final concentrations ecosystems are exposed to. Finally, the environmental impact on ecosystems associated with the use of chosen consumer products will be quantified.