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Life Cycle Assessment of Three Safe Drinking-Water Options in India: Boiled Water, Bottled Water, and Water Purified with a Domestic Reverse-Osmosis Device

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Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre, Unilever, Sharnbrook, Bedford MK44 1LQ, UK
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Mumbai Hindustan Unilever Research Centre (HURC), I C T Road Andheri (E), Mumbai 400 099, India
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6233; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226233
Received: 2 October 2019 / Revised: 31 October 2019 / Accepted: 1 November 2019 / Published: 7 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Indian households connected to improved water sources still need to purify their water before drinking. In this study, environmental impacts of three purification options in urban India were compared: (a) boiling water, (b) bottled, purified water, and (c) purifying the water with a domestic reverse-osmosis (RO) device. Primary data for the manufacture, distribution, and the use of the RO device were obtained directly from the manufacturer. Standard, attributional Life Cycle Assessment was performed using a suite of impact assessment methods from ReCiPe v 1.8. In addition, blue and green water consumptions were quantified using the Quantis water database. Bottled water was found to be associated with the highest impacts for all impact categories considered, mainly due to the production and the transportation of bottles. The preference between the other two systems depends on the considered impact category. Water boiled using the liquefied petroleum gas (current practice of urban consumers in India) was found to have higher impacts on climate change and fossil resource use than water from a domestic RO device. The use of the device; however, was found to have higher impacts on water resources than boiling, both in terms of quality (freshwater eutrophication) and availability (water consumption). View Full-Text
Keywords: drinking water; India; reverse-osmosis device; life cycle analysis drinking water; India; reverse-osmosis device; life cycle analysis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Garcia-Suarez, T.; Kulak, M.; King, H.; Chatterton, J.; Gupta, A.; Saksena, S. Life Cycle Assessment of Three Safe Drinking-Water Options in India: Boiled Water, Bottled Water, and Water Purified with a Domestic Reverse-Osmosis Device. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6233.

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