how sustainable is…
A study comparing the environmental impacts of manufacturing a bicycle frame from aluminium vs bamboo suggests that the bicycle with the bamboo frame has a lower impact on the environment. However, the study suggests the differences are small.
The comparison takes into account the following stages of the bicycle’s life cycle: resource extraction, processing, shipping, manufacture, use and disposal. The comparison includes the following assumptions:
- The bicycles are both made in Germany
- Both bicycles are identical in terms of the components used, except for the frame
- The bamboo is cultivated in China (at a plantation assumed to be sustainably managed) and then shipped to Germany for bicycle manufacture using hemp and epoxy.
- The bamboo plantation does not require irrigation (this assumption, as well as the assumptions around pesticide use may not be reliable, requiring further investigation).
- The aluminium is produced from a Bauxite mine in Guinea, the alumina shipped to Germany for aluminium production (assuming that 60% of the aluminium is recycled aluminium).
Interestingly, the study suggests that the carbon footprint of the two types of bicycles is about the same (both around 235 kg CO2 equiv).
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what can I do to reduce my environmental footprint?
Keep riding your bike instead of using a car whenever possible!
You can’t do much better than cycling instead of using a car. If you want to minimise the environmental footprint of your bicycle, look after it, so it lasts as long as possible!
Report Rating: 2 out of 3
Report Published: 2012
Author(s): Ya-Ju Chang, Erwin M. Schau and Matthias Finkbeiner
Publisher: World Sustainability Forum
Funder: not known
Keywords: life cycle analysis, LCA, cradle to grave analysis, environmental footprint, sustainability, bike, bicycle, transport, travel, bamboo, aluminum, cycle, commute.Share this page using: