Comparative life cycle assessment of ghana-made bamboo-frame bicycle and conventional bicycles assembled and used in the Netherlands

E.O. Agyekum, K.P.J. Fortuin, E.J.M. van der Harst

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademic

Abstract

In order to assess the sustainability of bamboo-framed bicycles produced in Ghana, an environmental and social life cycle assessments (LCA) were performed. For the environmental LCA, a bamboo-frame bicycle was compared with aluminium- and steel-frame bicycles, focussing on processes related to the frames – the main difference between the bicycles. Moreover, a cradle-to-grave assessment of the bicycles was conducted to determine the relative contribution of the frames to overall environmental impacts of the bicycles. The social LCA investigated the performance of three bamboo bicycle companies in Ghana. Primary data on the production of a bamboo bicycle frame were collected at these three companies. Four social impact categories were considered for assessing the relationship between the three companies and selected stakeholders: human rights, working conditions, health & safety and community development. Secondary data on material inputs used to produce steel and aluminium bicycle frames and the other parts of the bicycles were obtained mainly from a consultant database. Data on the production of inputs and emission factors were taken from EcoInvent®2.0 database. Inventory data were evaluated with CML 2 baseline 2000 and managed with SimaPro 7.3 software. Bamboo frames performed better than aluminium and steel frames in all the environmental impact categories, except freshwater aquatic ecotoxicity and terrestrial ecotoxicity. Performance in these impact categories could be improved by preserving bamboo with borax. The contribution of the frame to the overall environmental impact of a bicycle was, however, relatively small. Bamboo bicycle companies performed well and made positive social impacts in most categories. However, companies could have made the local people aware of the use of bamboo resources so that they could negotiate a good price to contribute to community development.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event2014 [avniR] Conference : Life Cycle in Practice, Lille, France -
Duration: 5 Nov 20146 Nov 2014

Conference

Conference2014 [avniR] Conference : Life Cycle in Practice, Lille, France
Period5/11/146/11/14

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