Blue Community Program Coastal Sustainability Best Practices

M2 Discussion - In the Media


       A recent study completed by the University of Manchester on the energy              effects of microwave appliance usage, discovered a dismal result. According        to University of Manchester (2018) microwave appliance usage in the                  European Union (EU) emits as much carbon dioxide as almost seven million        cars. According to the University of Manchester (2018) researchers who              have carried out the first ever comprehensive study of the environmental              impacts of microwave appliances, considering their whole life cycle, from            'cradle to grave', concluded the following results:

· Microwave appliance usage emits 7.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year in the EU. This is equivalent to the annual emissions of 6.8 million cars.

· Microwave appliance usage across the EU consumes an estimated 9.4 terawatts per hour (TWh) of electricity every year. This is equivalent to the annual electricity generated by three large gas power plants.

· Efforts to reduce consumption should focus on improving consumer awareness and behavior to use appliances more efficiently.

     Microwaves are set to reach nearly 135 million by 2020 which will account for the majority of all ovens sold in the EU, the University of Manchester (2018) used life cycle assessment (LCA) to estimate the impacts of microwaves, as well as taking into account the manufacturing, the use and the end-of-life waste management. The research investigated 12 different environmental factors, "including climate change, depletion of natural resources and ecological toxicity." (University of Manchester, 2018). 

     The research pinpoints the main negative environmental factors are the materials used to produce the microwaves, the manufacturing process and end-of-life waste management, for example, “the manufacturing process alone contributes more than 20% to depletion of natural resources and to climate change.” (University of Manchester, 2018). Yet, electricity consumption from microwaves have the biggest impact on the environment, regarding the whole life cycle, from production of fuels to generation of electricity. In total, microwave appliances in the EU consumed an estimated 9.4 terawatts per hour (TWh) of electricity per year. “This is equivalent to the annual electricity generation by three large gas power plants.” (University of Manchester, 2018).

     It would be suggested that microwave production, sales, and consumer end-use needs to be revaluated and a better process needs to take place. More stringent manufacturing guidelines would be a good start; however, it should not stop there. Consumers need to alter their purchasing habits and waste disposal of microwaves as well as how they use microwaves to heat foods. An overhaul of the industry is needed in this area as microwaves are a modern-day convenience that the majority of people utilize; yet, it seems to be at the expense of our environment.

University of Manchester. (2018, January 17). Microwave appliance usage could be as bad for the environment as cars,      suggests new research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2018 from                                                                    



Campbell, C. (2018). M2 Discussion - In the Media. Retrieved from


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