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Microwaves emit 7.7 mn tonnes of CO2 per year, more than cars: EU study

The study used life cycle assessment (LCA) to estimate the impacts of microwaves

Press Trust of India  |  London 

microwave
File photo: microwave

across Europe alone emit as much as nearly seven million cars, a study has found.

Researchers from the in the UK have carried out the first-ever comprehensive study of the environmental impacts of microwaves, considering their whole life cycle, from 'cradle to grave'.

The study found that emit 7.7 million tonnes of equivalent per year in the (EU). This is equivalent to the annual emissions of 6.8 million cars.

across the EU consume an estimated 9.4 terawatts per hour (TWh) of every year. This is equivalent to the annual generated by three large gas

account for the largest percentage of sales of all type of ovens in the (EU), with numbers set to reach nearly 135 million by 2020. Despite this, the scale of their impacts on the was not known until now.

The study used life cycle assessment (LCA) to estimate the impacts of microwaves, taking into account their manufacture, use and end-of-life waste management.

Altogether, the research team investigated 12 different environmental factors, including climate change, depletion of natural resources and ecological toxicity.

They found, for example, that the used across the EU emit 7.7 million tonnes of equivalent per year. This is equivalent to the annual emission of 6.8 million cars.

The research shows that the main environmental 'hotspots' are materials used to manufacture the microwaves, the manufacturing process and end-of-life waste management.

For example, the manufacturing process alone contributes more than 20 per cent to depletion of natural resources and to climate change.

However, it is consumption by that have the biggest impact on the environment, taking into account its whole life cycle, from the production of fuels to generation of

In total, across the EU consume an estimated 9.4 terawatts per hour of every year. This is equivalent to the annual generation by three large gas

The study found that, on average, an individual microwave uses 573-kilowatt-hour of over its lifetime of eight years.

That is equivalent to the consumed by a seven watt LED light bulb, left on continuously for almost nine years.

Due to their relatively low cost and ease of manufacture, consumers are throwing more electrical and electronic (EE) equipment away than ever before, including

"Rapid technological developments and falling prices are driving the purchase of electrical and electronic appliances in Europe," said Alejandro Gallego-Schmid, from the

"Consumers now tend to buy new appliances before the existing ones reach the end of their useful life as electronic goods have become fashionable and 'status' items," he said.

First Published: Thu, January 18 2018. 17:39 IST
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