Environmental Impact

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:

  • Oil
  • Coal
  • Gas
  • Metals
  • Minerals
  • Timbers

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.
  • Gas
  • Metals
  • Minerals
  • Timbers

It is impossible to make products without using materials – finding more sustainable ways of doing so is the challenge!

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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
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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
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The UK now has its own re-cycling targets
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