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Clean Manufacturing

5.6.1 Explain why the introduction of mass production increased damage to the natural environment.

A historical perspective is important. Environmental considerations were not an issue in the 18th and 19th centuries. Little quantitative data was available, and all governments encouraged the growth of industry.
  • As personal wealth increased
  • A need for products developed
  • Mass production reduced the cost per item
  • The reduction in cost made it more affordable
  • Therefore more products were needed
  • Thus more raw materials and energy sources (fossil fuels) were needed
  • Add tot he destruction of the natural environment
  • 18th and 19th Centuries little consideration was given to the environment
  • Little or no quantitative data was collected or analysed
  • Government was more concerned in promoting industry
  • As Governments would benefit from the increase in wealth (taxe etc)

5.6.2 Outline the reasons for cleaning up manufacturing.

Reasons include promoting positive impacts, ensuring neutral impact or minimising negative impacts through conserving natural resources, reducing pollution and use of energy, and reducing wastage of energy and resources.

5.6.3 Outline that an initial response to reducing emission of pollutants is adding clean-up technologies to the end of the manufacturing process.

The addition of clean-up technologies to the end of the manufacturing process is termed the “end of- pipe” approach.
Factory smoke stack precipitater Storm water drain nets

Other examples are:

  • scrubbers or precipitaters on smokestacks
  • catalytic converters on automobile tailpipes
  • Storm water nets, etc
  • these reduce emissions of pollutants from steam, water, air or waste.

5.6.4 Explain how legislation provides an impetus to manufacturers to clean up manufacturing processes.

  • Governments put in place laws
  • Forces manufacturers to clean up manufacturing processes
  • If not then the companies could be fined or shut downed

5.6.5 State that the legislation can be policed by monitoring through the collection of quantitative data.

  • USA EPA has quantitative data for counties and states.
  • EU summary of legislation.
  • Hong Kong and legislation.

5.6.6 Explain that strategies for cleaning up manufacturing are mainly reactive, and that more radical approaches require a rethink of the whole system and may result in significant product and/or process modification or radically new technologies.

Many companies react to legislation or impending legislation by doing the minimum required. More radical approaches, for example, life cycle analysis, are proactive (see “Topic 3: Green design”).

5.6.7 Explain that targets for reducing pollution and waste from industry are agreed internationally, but not all industrial nations agree to the targets.

Explore the difficulties of stating targets against the background of ever-changing social, political and economic changes.


  • Socio-economic wealth means more spending power of the population
  • Will mean in increase in production


  • Kyoto Protocol is one such agreement to reduce carbon emissions
  • until 2009 USA and Australia were prominent countries that have not signed it
  • Both countries had conservative governments that favoured industry
  • Australia voted in a government that favoured environmental issues
  • this signed the protocol


  • it is costly to either radically change or at end-of-pipe (and run them)
  • companies will be resistant to paying for it
  • government may have to offer incentives
  • economic climate may not be conducive
  • PWE Centre on climate change
  • wikipaedia reference and mentions green papers.


Bulleted list and italicised paragraphs are excerpted from Design Technology: guide. Cardiff Wales, UK: International Baccalaureate Organization, 2007.

Images are clickable links to its location.

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Page last modified on April 18, 2013, at 03:22 AM