A comparative life cycle assessment of commercially available household silver-enabled polyester textiles
- 563 Downloads
Silver-enabled textiles use the inherent antimicrobial properties of silver to produce a product with odor reduction capabilities. A touted benefit of these products is the ability to reduce their lifetime environmental impact through reductions in laundering. A comprehensive life cycle assessment is needed to fully understand the potential benefit of reduced laundering, environmental payback period, and potential to shift consumer-laundering behavior.
Three commercially available silver-enabled polyester fabrics are compared to a conventional fabric using life cycle assessment methodology. Sima Pro software along with the Tool for Reduction and Assessment of Chemicals and Other Environmental Impacts (TRACI) impact categories are used to model the environmental impact of the four textiles (three with added silver, and one conventional textile) throughout their lifetimes. Environmental payback is used to determine the number of reductions of launderings necessary for environmental benefit to be realized from the inclusion of silver. Current literature on laundering motivations and habits is reviewed to yield insight on whether there is the potential for consumers to launder their textiles less frequently.
Results and discussion
The lifetime environmental impact of the three textiles considered varies as a function of the silver content and environmental impact category. In some impact categories, such as global warming potential, the laundering phase has the greatest environmental impact and thus has the potential for the greatest reduction. In other categories, such as ecotoxicity, the most significant impact is due to the percentage of silver that is released into surface water from the textile. In this case, environmental parity (the point at which the environmental impacts are the same) is not always possible to achieve. A review of the literature suggests that the motivation to launder textiles along with the frequency varies significantly across populations and times in history.
Silver-enabled textiles have the potential to reduce the odors produced by unwashed textiles through bacterial inhibition. In some cases, there is the potential to achieve adequate reductions in laundering to compensate for the increased energy and raw materials needed to produce silver-enabled textile. However, frequency of laundering is largely a cultural norm based on perceived cleanliness and is unlikely to be shifted as a function of textile adoption.
KeywordsLife cycle assessment Nanotechnology Silver Textiles
The authors acknowledge the support of the US Environmental Protection Agency Assistance Agreement No. RD83558001-0 that funded this research. This work has not been formally reviewed by EPA. The views expressed in this document are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the agency. Neither the EPA nor the authors endorse any products or commercial services mentioned in this publication. The authors would also like to thank Robert Reed of Arizona State University for his experimental silver loss laundering data.
- Abeliotis K, Candan C, Amberg C, Ferri A, Osset M, Owens J (2014) Impact of water hardness on consumers’ perception of laundry washing result in five European countries. Int J Consum Stud 39:1–7Google Scholar
- Arild A, Brusdal R, Gunnarsen J, Terpstra P, van Kessel I (2003) An investigation of domestic laundry in Europe—habits, hygiene and technical performance. National Institute for Consumer Research, OsloGoogle Scholar
- Brumfiel G (2006) Consumer products leap aboard the nano bandwagon. Nature 440:262. doi: 10.1038/440262b
- Cotton (2014) Blue jeans go green: https://www.thefabricofourlives.com/our-programs/blue-jeans-go-green?gclid=CKfEyLus6cECFReBaQodi5YAjQ
- Council for Textile Recycling (2015) http://www.weardonaterecycle.org/
- Dune Sciences (2014) Nanoparticle synthesis and attachment. (A. L. Hicks, Interviewer) Eugene, OregonGoogle Scholar
- EarthShift (2014) Traci 2 Impact Assessment Method: http://www.earthshift.com/software/simapro/traci2
- EMS World Products (2015) Nano Silver Certified Hospital Curtains: http://www.emsworld.com/product/10176888/nano-mask-inc-nano-silver-certified-hospital-curtains
- Hill W, Pillsbury D (1939) Argyria—the pharmacology of silver. Williams & Wilkins, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
- Huang R, Pei J, Wang L, Wu X, Ding X (2013) Consumer lifestyle approach to quantify CO2 emissions caused by domestic washing clothes. J Fiber Bioeng Inform 6:427–440Google Scholar
- Joule E (2011). Fashion-forward thinking: sustainability as a business model at Levi Strauss. Global Business and Organization Excellence 16Google Scholar
- Kalliala E, Nousianinen P (1999) Life cycle assessment environmental profile of cotton and polyester-cotton fabrics. AUTEX Res J 1(1)Google Scholar
- Laitala K, Klepp I, Kjeldsberg M, Eilertsen K (2011) Consumer’s wool wash habits—and opportunities to improve them. National Institute for Consumer Research, OsloGoogle Scholar
- Lindsey J (2011) Dare to wear: an exploration of the attitudes and habits of the consumer in regards to garment care and its relationship and effect on the environment. Thesis, Texas State University-San MarcosGoogle Scholar
- Mitrano D, Rimmele E, Wichser A, Erni R, Height M, Nowack B (2014) Presence of nanoparticles in wash water from conventional silver and nano-silver textiles. ACS Nano, Msc: nn-2014-02228w:11–17Google Scholar
- Naddafi K, Jabbari H, Chehrehei M (2010) Effect of nanosilver painting on control of hospital air-transmitted microorganisms. Iran J Environ Heath Sci Eng 7(3):223–228Google Scholar
- Pistilli M (2011, September 12). Silver Investing News. Retrieved September 8, 2014, from Nanosilver market growth: Boon or bust for silver prices: http://silverinvestingnews.com/8575/nanosilver-market-growth-boon-or-bust-for-silver-prices.html
- Polygiene (2011) Applying a comparative environmental impact factor (CEIF) for the comparison of polygiene-treated textiles to non-treated textilesGoogle Scholar
- Pre Consultants (2014, February 27) Retrieved from SimaPro: World’s Leading LCA Software: http://www.pre-sustainability.com/simapro
- Rankine R, Chick J, Harrison G (2006) Energy and carbon audit of a rooftop wind turbine. P I Mech Eng A-J Pow 220:643Google Scholar
- Reed R, Zaikova T, Barber A, Simonich M, Hutchinson J, Lankone R, Marco M, Hristovski K, Herckes P, Passantino L, Fairbrother D, Tanguay R, Ranville J, Hutchinson J, Westerhoff P (2016) Potential environmental impacts and antimicrobial efficacy of silver- and nanosilver-containing textiles. Environ Sci Technol 50:4018–4026CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Shove E, (2003) Comfort, cleanliness and convenience: the social organization of normality. In N. T. Series, & D. Slater (ed)Google Scholar
- Siegrist M, Keller C (2011) Labeling of nanotechnology consumer products can influence risk and benefit perceptions. Risk Anal 31(11)Google Scholar
- Stawreberg L (2011) Energy efficiency improvements of tumble dryers—technical development, laundry habits and energy labeling. Dissertation, Karlstads Universitet, Technology and Science Environmental and Energy SystemsGoogle Scholar
- The Council for Textile Recycling (2014) Retrieved November 7, 2014, from The Council for Textile Recycling : http://www.weardonaterecycle.org/
- Tolaymat T, El Badawy A, Genaidy A, Scheckel K, Luxton T, Suidan M (2010) An evidence-based environmental perspective of manufactured silver nanoparticle in synthesis and applications: a systematic review and critical appraisal of peer-reviewed scientific papers. Sci Total Environ 408:999–1006CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Tomlinson J, Rizy T (1998) Measured impacts of high efficiency domestic clothes washers in a community. Oak Ridge National Labs, Oak RidgeGoogle Scholar
- US EPA (2014, August 5) Retrieved December 29, 2014, from Tool for the Reduction and Assessment of Chemical and Other Environmental Impacts (TRACI): http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/std/traci/traci.html