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Carbon footprint of shampoo

Carbon footprint of shampoo

how sustainable is…

This study investigates the carbon footprint of a particular shampoo (“Schauma 7 Kräuter” shampoo by Henkel) across its entire life cycle, from manufacture to use and disposal. The study expresses the carbon footprint in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq). It also considers water consumption, human toxicity and eutrophication.

The study suggests that by far the biggest impact on the carbon footprint (as well as water consumption, human toxicity and eutrophication) results from the use of shampoo, as opposed to its manufacture or the disposal of its packaging. In other words, the carbon emissions associated with heating the (shower) water have by far the biggest impact on the environment. According to the study, the total carbon emissions are in the order of between 200g CO2-eq and 400g CO2-eq per one wash (one shower, using 7g of shampoo), depending on consumer behaviour (such as shower temperature and duration). These results are based on the emissions associated with typical water heating in Germany (e.g. natural gas fired water heaters).

Link to full report

While we make every effort to be accurate, we do not claim that this summary is representative. Please refer to our Legal Disclaimer for details.

what can I do to reduce my environmental footprint?

Based on this study, the best way to reduce your carbon footprint from showering and using shampoo is to minimise the duration of your shower. The amount of shampoo, at least in the case of Henkel’s “Schauma 7 Kräuter” has an almost neglible effect on the carbon emissions, compared to the carbon emissions associated with warm water use. While the report does not suggest that the study was independently peer reviewed, it is apparently based on third party data, which can be assumed to be reliable. As such, the result is likely to apply to the use of shampoo and shower gel in general.

In the event that your water is heated from mostly renewable fuels, the results are likely to be very different however.

Report Rating: 1 out of 3

Report Published: December 2008

Country: Germany

Author(s): Henkel AG & CO. KGAA

Publisher: PEF World Forum

Funder: Henkel AG & CO. KGAA

Keywords: life cycle analysis, LCA, cradle to grave analysis, environmental footprint, environmental impact, shampoo, soap, shower, wash

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