What if everyone becomes a sharer? A quantification of the environmental impact of access-based consumption for household laundry activities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In order to meet the EU's climate and resource efficiency targets, changes in our daily-life behaviours, as well as business models, are urgently necessary. More insights are needed to make real changes based on research with a systems perspective. We developed a system dynamics model to analyse the environmental benefits of a transition from ownership-based to access-based household laundry activities. The model considers demographic, technological and behavioural aspects and thereby assesses the environmental impact of laundry activities. The model is applied to the Swedish as well as the European context and allows cross-country comparisons. The results indicate a significant potential of the sharing economy. The higher utilisation of shared machines and extended lifespans of the machines can cut greenhouse gas emissions by a third and lower raw material usage overall and lower primary raw material in production due to higher recycling rates. The carbon intensity of the energy mix is a crucial factor for the environmental consequences that arise through changes in energy usage due to sharing economy practices. This case study shows the value of adopting policies that could promote sharing and extended life spans.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Linköping University
  • Chalmers University of Technology
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Management

Keywords

  • Access-based consumption, Environmental impact analysis, Sharing economy, System dynamics, Washing machine
Original languageEnglish
Article number104780
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Volume158
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes