- Microwave ovens in EU emit 7.7 million tonnes of CO2 annually.
- The study investigated the impact of microwaves from cradle to grave.
- Microwaves use huge amounts of electricity.
Some of the key findings of the study were published on the University website and said that microwaves across countries of the European Union emit 7.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. This study is the first of its kind in terms of mapping the effects of the kitchen appliance on the environment. The study report on the website said that while cooking in your microwave in itself doesn't cause any pollution, the main hotspots lie in the manufacturing process and the end-of-life waste management of the microwaves.
The study was conducted keeping in mind the growing user base of the electrical appliance across EU. 'Microwaves account for the largest percentage of sales of all type of ovens in the European Union (EU), with numbers set to reach nearly 135 million by 2020', says the report. Researchers have investigated 12 different environmental factors altogether, including depletion of resources and climate change during the manufacturing process, and increase in ecological toxicity.
Researcher Dr. Alejandro Gallego Schmid said, "Consumers now tend to buy new appliances before the existing ones reach the end of their useful life as electronic goods have become fashionable and 'status' items. As a result, discarded electrical equipment, such as microwaves, is one of the fastest growing waste streams worldwide." However, the biggest harmful environmental impact of the microwaves was found to be the amount of electricity that the microwaves consume. In total, microwaves around EU were found to be spending electricity that equals the power generated annually by three big gas power plants!
The reducing lifetime of an average microwave in the EU and the world has an environmental menace of ginormous proportions. The study pointed out that the lifespan of microwaves has decreased by almost 7 years, in the past 20 years. It also called for better waste management practices and regulations to control the environmental hazards caused by the microwaves.