The use of regionally available materials aims at sustainability by creating “cascades” of utilization of materials and by realizing regional value added, etc. Using regionally available raw materials reduces the requirement for transportation and thus environmental damage caused by increasing traffic. If procurement within the region is not possible environmentally acceptable means of transportation should be used.
Re-using parts and components permits to close cycles and, at the same time to maintain a high value. The consumption of resources for refurbishing parts and components is usually much lower than is the case in the manufacture of new components. The argument of impairment of quality can be refuted by the fact that new components show a higher probability of becoming defective than used parts with sufficient residual service life. Re-use is facilitated by standardized and cross-variant parts and components as it is easier to integrate them in a given production process.
The consumption of resources for the supply of raw materials and the manufacture of external parts and components may be seen as an ecological rucksack, which grows with every stage in the production process and which accompanies these parts and components throughout their life. An overall assessment of the product must therefore take into account the accumulated energy consumption of all production stages. Consequently, efforts should concentrate on minimizing the ecological rucksacks accompanying external parts and components. This may be realized by clearly defined requirements for the selection of suppliers and, subsequently, by the joint implementation of ECODESIGN programs.
Using repetition parts for different products or variants of a product reduces the number of different parts in production. This strategy simplifies assembly and facilitates the supply of spare parts as well as refurbishing and re-use of structural parts and components.
From an ecological point of view the input for transportation includes the consumption of resources, in particular the energy demand for operation as well as the proportional costs for the provision of the means of transportation. In addition, one has to take into account the environmental impact through emissions such as CO2, NOx, dust, and noise. The necessary input for transportation depends on factors such as mass and volume of the cargo, hauling distance, choice of the means of transportation, and number of hauling operations required. An analysis of the influence of individual factors resulting in targeted measures can reduce the overall input for transportation.
The consumption of resources for external parts and components can be considerably reduced by a minimization of waste. In this context both, the quantity and the composition of waste from packaging has to be taken into account. Returnable packaging should be considered, in particular if returning packaging material to the supplier does not require additional transportation.
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