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«2015 A Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Denim Jeans and a Cotton T-Shirt: The Production of Fast Fashion Essential Items From Cradle to Gate Tara ...»

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University of Kentucky

UKnowledge

Theses and Dissertations--Retailing and Tourism

Retailing and Tourism Management

Management

2015

A Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Denim

Jeans and a Cotton T-Shirt: The Production of Fast

Fashion Essential Items From Cradle to Gate

Tara Hackett

University of Kentucky, tara_hackett1@yahoo.com

Recommended Citation

Hackett, Tara, "A Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Denim Jeans and a Cotton T-Shirt: The Production of Fast Fashion Essential

Items From Cradle to Gate" (2015). Theses and Dissertations--Retailing and Tourism Management. Paper 9.

http://uknowledge.uky.edu/mat_etds/9 This Master's Thesis is brought to you for free and open access by the Retailing and Tourism Management at UKnowledge. It has been accepted for inclusion in Theses and Dissertations--Retailing and Tourism Management by an authorized administrator of UKnowledge. For more information, please contact UKnowledge@lsv.uky.edu.

STUDENT AGREEMENT:

I represent that my thesis or dissertation and

Abstract

are my original work. Proper attribution has been given to all outside sources. I understand that I am solely responsible for obtaining any needed copyright permissions. I have obtained needed written permission statement(s) from the owner(s) of each third- party copyrighted matter to be included in my work, allowing electronic distribution (if such use is not permitted by the fair use doctrine) which will be submitted to UKnowledge as Additional File.

I hereby grant to The University of Kentucky and its agents the irrevocable, non-exclusive, and royalty- free license to archive and make accessible my work in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I agree that the document mentioned above may be made available immediately for worldwide access unless an embargo applies.

I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of my work. I understand that I am free to register the copyright to my work.

REVIEW, APPROVAL AND ACCEPTANCE

The document mentioned above has been reviewed and accepted by the student’s advisor, on behalf of the advisory committee, and by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), on behalf of the program; we verify that this is the final, approved version of the student’s thesis including all changes required by the advisory committee. The undersigned agree to abide by the statements above.

Tara Hackett, Student D

–  –  –

A COMPARATIVE LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT OF DENIM JEANS AND A

COTTON T-SHIRT: THE PRODUCTION OF FAST FASHION ESSENTIAL ITEMS

FROM CRADLE TO GATE

As a result of harmful textile production, sustainability has become the movement by which the apparel industry explores solutions to improve procedures in fashion design to maintain a healthy environment. However, the issue is consumers trust the sustainability claims and marketing materials of apparel products at face value without knowing its environmental impact. The overall purpose of this research was to compare the environmental implications of widely produced and owned apparel products through a life cycle assessment approach. This life cycle assessment study examines key environmental impact categories of the materials and production phase (cradle to gate) of a pair of jeans and a cotton t-shirt. The specific purpose of this study was to identify if the production processes make a sustainable product at the point of purchase.

Furthermore, this research study compares the environmental impacts of a denim jean and dyed cotton t-shirt utilizing the ReCipe 2008 LCA tool.

KEYWORDS: Life Cycle Assessment, Sustainability, Cradle to Gate, ReCiPe 2008

–  –  –

The following thesis, while an individual work, benefited from the insights and direction of several people. First, my Thesis Chair, Dr. Elizabeth Easter, exemplifies the high quality scholarship to which I aspire. Dr. Easter provided timely and instructive comments and evaluation at every stage of the process.

Thank you for your support and believing in me. Next, I wish to thank the complete Thesis Committee: Dr. Elizabeth Easter, Dr. Vanessa Jackson, and Dr.

Scarlett Wesley. Each individual provided insights that guided and challenged my thinking, substantially improving the finished product.

In addition to the technical and instrumental assistance from my thesis committee, I have received equally important assistance from family and friends.

My husband, Trae Hackett, has provided unwavering support through my journey, always offering encouragement and a listening ear. Thank you for believing in my vision. To my children, Trent, Taylor, and Teagan, for quiet times, cooperation and understanding that provided quality studying time me. Last, to my extended family and friends for filling in the gaps, supporting my decisions and providing a safe and loving place for us to grow. The help from everyone has allowed me to achieve my goals.

iii TABLE OF CONTENTS





Acknowledgements

List of Tables…………………………………………………………………………....viii List of Figures……………………………………………………………………….……ix Chapter One: Introduction………………………………………………………………...1 Problem……………………………………………………………………………2 Purpose…………………………………………………………………....……….3 Objectives…………………………………………………………………………3 Research Questions……………………………………………………………......4 Justification………………………………………………………………………..4 Limitations of Study………………………………………………………………5 Assumptions……………………………………………………………………….6 Chapter Two: Review of Literature……………………………………………………….7 Introduction………………………………………………………………………..7 Overview of Apparel Supply Chain……………….………………………………7 Globalization………………………………………………………………………9 Just-in-time Concept……………………………………………………..10 Agile Supply Chain…………………………………………………...….11 Quick Response Concept……………………………………………...…13 Fast Fashion…………………………………………………………………..….15 Consumer Driven………………………………………………………...16 Supply Chain Driven……………………………………………………..16 Sustainable Fashion……………………………………………………………...18 Product Life Cycle…………………………………………………………….....18 Raw Material Procurement………………………………………………19 iv Manufacturing/Production……………………………………………….21 Distribution……………………………………………………………....24 Consumer Use…………………………………………………………....24 Disposal………………………………………………………………..…26 Life Cycle Assessment………………………………………………………..….29 Goal And Scope…………………………………………………….……30 Life Cycle Inventory Analysis……………………………………..…….31 Life Cycle Impact Assessment………………………………...…………31 Life Cycle Interpretation………………………………………...……….31 ReCiPe 2008 LCA Method………………………………………………………33 Human Health……………………………………………………………38 Ecosystem………………………………………………………………..39 Resources………………………………………………………………...40 Summary……………………………………………………………….………...45 Chapter Three: Methodology…………………………………………………………….47 Introduction………………………………………………………………………47 Research Design………………………………………………………………….48 Goal and Scope………………………...………………………………...………48 Functional Unit…………………………………………………………..48 System Boundaries……………………………………………………….49 Materials Phase…………………………………………………..49 Production Phase…………………………………………………49 Environmental Impact Categories………………………………………..49 Climate Change…………………………………………………..50 Water Consumption……………………………………………...50 Eutrophication……………………………………………………51 v Land Occupation…………………………………………………51 Abiotic Depletion………………………………………………...51 Inventory Analysis……………………………………………………………….51 Chapter Four: Results……………………………………………………………………56 Introduction………………………………………………………………………56 Impact Assessment……………………………………………………………….56 Climate Change…………………………………………………………..57 Levi’s® 501® Jeans……………………………………………….57 Colored Cotton T-shirt……………………………………...……59 Water Consumption……………………………………………………...60 Levi’s® 501® Jeans……………………………………………….60 Colored Cotton T-shirt…………………………………………...62 Eutrophication……………………………………………………………63 Levi’s® 501® Jeans……………………………………………….63 Colored Cotton T-shirt…………………………………………...65 Land Occupation…………………………………………………………66 Levi’s® 501® Jeans……………………………………………….66 Colored Cotton T-shirt…………………………………………...68 Abiotic Depletion………………………………………………………...68 Levi’s® 501® Jeans……………………………………………….68 Colored Cotton T-shirt…………………………………………...70 Interpretation of Results………………………………………………………….71 Climate Change…………………………………………………………..71 Water Consumption……………………………………………………...71 Eutrophication……………………………………………………………72 Land Occupation…………………………………………………………72 vi Abiotic Depletion………………………………………………….……..73 Chapter Five: Discussion and Conclusions………………………………………………74 Introduction………………………………………………………………………74 Fiber Cultivation and Harvest……………………………………………………75 Water Consumption……………………………………………………………...76 Energy Consumption…………………………………………………………….77 Life Cycle Assessment Data……………………………………………………..78 Limitations of Study……………………………………………………………..79 Recommendations for Future Research………………………………………….80 Appendices Appendix A………………………………………………………………………81 Appendix B………………………………………………………………………83 Appendix C………………………………………………………………………84 Appendix D………………………………………………………………………87 Appendix E……………………………………………………………………..100 Bibliography….………………………………………………………………………...107 Vita……………………………………………………………………………………..115 vii

LIST OF TABLES



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