ASU Center for Organization Research and Design

A Life Cycle Environmental and Economic Comparison of Clothes Washing Product-Service Systems

Jan 1, 2008

Manufacturers are increasingly designing and creating integrated product-service systems (PSS) to improve customer satisfaction and take advantage of opportunities for product life cycle management, including improved upstream information flow to product design and manufacturing. Two PSS for clothes washing are compared in terms of life cycle economic and environmental impacts. The two PSS investigated are a laundry service and home-based clothes washing. It is shown that home-based washing has 1.5 times the environmental impact of a laundry service, due to increased materials use, while costs are reduced by about 85% due to elimination of labor and overhead. The comparison suggests that a more service-oriented PSS has less environmental impact and higher costs. Therefore, improvement efforts should be focused on reducing the labor content for high service PSS, and reducing the amount of material within product-oriented PSS. It was also found that service-oriented PSS can result in higher transportation impacts.