Clothing disposal habits and consequences for life cycle assessment (LCA)

Kirsi Laitala & Ingun Grimstad Klepp

Abstract

This chapter discusses the effects of end-of-life scenarios to the life cycle assessment (LCA) calculations. Consumers’ decisions in the disposal phase of clothing are crucial from an environmental point of view, as they affect the lifespan of clothing, as well as the potential for reuse and recycling. In doing this, examples of Norwegian consumers’ clothing use and disposal practices are used.

We will present statistics for the current situation in Norway as well as qualitative material on clothing disposal practices and discuss disposal methods and frequencies. Instead of assuming that all clothes are disposed of equally regardless of type of garment, person and place, the LCA analyses should be nuanced in relation to knowledge of disposal practices. Analysis also shows also that if improvements are made in facilitating reuse, clothing lifespans could easily be prolonged.

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