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Lifecycle Assessment of a Condom

CollectionsANU Student Research Conference (2nd : 2016 : Canberra, ACT)
Title: Lifecycle Assessment of a Condom
Author(s): Chew, Mun Nyee
Keywords: student research conference;lifecycle assessment;condom;marketing;sustainability
Date published: 14-Jul-2016
Publisher: Australian National University
This is a research report on the life cycle assessment of male latex condom. I present a cradle-to-grave analysis on the physical flow of resources, waste and carbon emission to and from the life cycle and its subsystem. This report begins with the history of condom, the scope of research followed by (1) the environmental impacts of forest land conversion to rubber plantations in South and Southeast Asia, (2) energy consumption, carbon emission and waste generation by rubber mills and (3) condom manufacturers and also welfare of factory workers. Life cycle assessment is the methodology used here to study all potential environmental impacts attributable to the life cycle of a condom, from acquisition of raw materials, manufacturing plant to post-use and disposal of condom. We discuss some market forces that drive the rising demand of condoms as the revenue and volume of condoms industry will experience compound annual growth rate of 9.28% and 9.07% respectively from 2015 to 2019. Although when used correctly and consistently, male condoms are estimated to be 90% effective in reducing HIV transmission and 87% as a primary means of contraception yet due to marketing and social challenges, accessibility of condoms mainly in African countries remains low. The future of the industry is studied by weighing the long term social benefits and environmental costs. Dual protection advantages of condoms seem to outweigh the environmental costs because it is also a solution to the rising world population. We conclude that perhaps in the future, the use of recoverable resources and pollution prevention technology can create a more sustainable condom industry.


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