A new study reveals that microwaves emit as much carbon dioxide as almost seven million cars across the European Union alone. It is found that this cooking device could have an impact on the environment.
The findings of the study were published in the journal Science of the Total Environment. The study was led by researchers from the University of Manchester, according to Phys.org.
The sales of microwaves in EU are increasingly high that could reach 135 million by 2020. However, its impact on the environment was not yet fully known. Dr. Alejandro Gallego-Schmid, the lead author of the study from the university’s School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, said that knowing that microwaves account for the largest percentage of sales of all types of oven in the EU, it is increasingly significant to start addressing their impact on resource use and end-of-life waste, as noted by Telegraph.
In the study, the scientists utilized life cycle assessment (LCA) to know the impact of microwaves. These include examining their manufacture, use and end-of-life waste management. They studied 12 various factors including climate change, ecological toxicity and depletion of natural resources. The results showed that the microwaves used in EU alone discharge about 7.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent each year. It is known too that much carbon in the atmosphere could warm the planet.
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The team also found that the biggest impact of microwaves on the environment is the electricity consumption. The use of microwaves in EU reach about 9.4 terawatts per hour of electricity per year, which is equivalent to the annual electricity produced by three large gas power plants. Another major problem is the waste, in which consumers are throwing more electrical and electronic equipment including microwaves.
The scientists are urging consumers to use the appliances more efficiently. One example of this is that consumers must adjust the time of cooking to the type of food so as to reduce the electricity consumption. They also would like to develop particular regulations for these electric devices focusing on their design. This could alleviate the number of resources needed to make microwaves and waste generated at the end of their lifetime.