What are Ecological Rucksacks?


Ecological Rucksack is the total quantity (in kg) of the natural material that is disturbed in its natural setting and thus considered the total input in order to generate a product - counted from the cradle to the point when the product is ready for use - minus the weight (in kg) of the product itself.

In each product or service that we use, we are carrying "in a rucksack" the materials that were moved from their locations in nature to make the goods or services. These are called ecological rucksacks. The ecological rucksacks indicate the amounts of materials that were moved in nature to make the goods, and so the ecological rucksacks represent the degree of stress exerted by the goods on the environment.

The ecological rucksacks of goods are easily calculated. All materials used in the production of goods are listed by weight and multiplied by rucksack factors, and then summed to include all materials.

MI = SUM (Mi · Ri)

Here, MI is the ecological rucksack or material intensity, and Mi is the weight of the material in terms of kilograms, and Ri is the rucksack factor.

The rucksack factor (or MI factor) is the amount (in kilograms) of materials moved to obtain 1 kilogram of the resource. For example, Steel: 21 (One kilogram of steel carries an ecological rucksack of 21 kilograms.), Aluminum: 85, Recycled Aluminum: 3.5, Gold: 540,000, Diamond: 53,000,000, Rubber: 5

Source: The Takeda Award 2001

Further reading:

  • Methods: Ecological Rucksacks