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Study: The Carbon Cost Of A Pair Of Jeans
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Study: The Carbon Cost Of A Pair Of Jeans

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The study is based on wearing these jeans one day per week over the course of four years and washing them after three times worn at a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius .

The life cycle of this pair of jeans includes factors such as:

The traditional cultivation of cotton

The transportation of the material and then the final product to retailers

Spinning the cotton into yarn

Washing and dyeing the yarn, then sizing it using starch

Manufacturing other components including lining, rivets and buttons

Processing to achieve the worn look

Actual use of the jeans by the initial purchaser for the next four years

Disposal of the jeans, either to landfill or to a second owner

 

 

Associated with all these steps are several environmental impacts including energy consumption, water consumption and the production of household waste among others. When all is said and done, the life cycle of jeans can be divided into two major categories: the manufacturing stage and the use of the jeans including cleaning and ironing until the end of their life cycle. The production process is believed to be responsible for approximately 59 per cent of the climate change impact, while the use of the jeans and end of life process (ie. heading to a landfill) accounts for the remaining 41 per cent.

 

The report estimates that from the manufacturing process all the way to the end of their life cycle, the jeans will be responsible for about two kilograms - or 4.4 lbs - of carbon dioxide per functional unit (wearing them once per week and washing them after wearing them three times).

If each functional unit in the study indicates one use of the jeans per week, we can take that 4.4 pounds and mutliply it by the 52 weeks in the year by the estimated four years before they are disposed of or passed on to a new use, and discover that the average pair of jeans is responsible for 915 pounds of carbon dioxide during their average life cycle.

 

The above study was conducted by Department for Eco-Design and Sustainable Development of the French Environment Agency.











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