Faculty Advisor

Christie Klimas, PhD


Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a technique that can be used to assess the environmental implications associated with all of the stages of a product’s life, including raw material extraction, product creation, transportation, use, and disposal. This process can be used by designers to develop a more sustainable approach to their product or by consumers to become more informed on the environmental impacts of the product they are purchasing. Since the sporting goods industry and its products have significant environmental impact through energy use and emissions, this study aims to analyze the contribution of the life cycle stages of youth hockey and football equipment to the overall environmental load. In an effort to begin to assess the environmental impacts of sporting equipment, this study investigates material production, sports equipment creation, and use of hockey and football personal protective equipment (PPE). This analysis relates to the global concern of climate change since global warming potentials (GWP) will be assessed. We quantified the environmental burden of material production, sports equipment creation, and use through a TRACI (Tool for the Reduction and Assessment of Chemical and other environmental Impacts) impact analysis, which reported impacts for global warming potential (GWP) as well as nine other environmental categories. Although previous LCAs have reported the use phase to be the most environmentally impactful stage in a textile’s lifecycle, this was not the case for the LCA of children’s football and hockey equipment; in large part because of the consumer behavior (not drying PPE).