Commercial production is placing demands on the world's natural resources which cannot be sustained. Many of these natural resources are considered as over exploited:
The following tend to speed up or increase the use of natural resources:
- Modern methods of production – mass or high volume production.
- Increasing consumerism across the world.
It is impossible to make products without using materials – finding more sustainable ways of doing so is the challenge!
Large high tech companies have established manufacturing facilities in one country – there are many reasons for this – what are they?
Effects of commercial production on the environment:
Pollution discharge into the atmosphere, waterways and land contribute to:
- poor air quality
- poisoned water
- poor soil fertility and poisoning of crops
- Global Warming
Over exploitation and extraction of natural resources and minerals cause and contribute to:
- fossil fuels and finite mineral shortages in future
- irreversible damage to the landscape
- soil erosion and loss of vital nutrients from the soil – leading to desert landscapes
- loss of habitat for both animal and human populations
Modern manufacturing plants are looking at ways to reduce all forms of pollution to the atmosphere
Reducing the impact
Adopt sustainable methods of using resources that:
- use fewer finite materials / sources of energy e.g. coal / oil / gas fired power stations.
- use alternatives e.g. sustainable sources such as wood from managed forestry or bio fuels and plastics from crops.
- use energy from renewable sources e.g. wind, wave, geo-thermal.
Developing sustainable products by:
- reversing the trend for more lifestyle products.
- designing to use recycled materials in production.
- designing products that can be reused / recycled easily.
- using low-impact materials: non-toxic, sustainably-produced or recycled materials which require little energy to reprocess.
- being energy efficient: using manufacturing processes and production which require less energy.
- designing for quality and durability: longer-lasting and better-functioning products which have to be replaced less frequently, reducing the impact of producing replacements.
Develop the use of Sustainable manufacturing technologies that:
- use less energy
- use fewer of the limited resources
- do not deplete natural resources,
- do not directly or indirectly pollute the environment
- can be reused or recycled at the end of their useful life