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in use. These shops are, in a manner of speaking, huge vending machines and the shop assistants’ tasks are

reduced to merely servicing the machines. The rapid development of vending machines and the reduction

of the social contact between seller and buyer mirrors two types of changes in our society. On the one hand,

the technical achievements, which allow for new types of products to be offered and ensure security for

both the seller and the customer. On the other hand, the customers’ needs are changing. Today, on many

occasions customers prefer to buy anonymously, without any personal commitment and without any time

limit - twenty-four hours a day. Furthermore, as wages and rental fees are steadily increasing, shop

facilities without the traditional shop assistant can be run at a more competitive price. As the customer gets

more and more hybrid, he/she satisfies her/his needs by purchasing in different shop formats (from a

discount store to a specialty shop) at different price levels. The customers’ behavior changes dramatically,

and it has to be questioned how buying from vending machines will change in the future.

* Univ.-Ass. Dr. Susanne Gruber, Institute of Technology and Sustainable Product Management,

University of Economics and Business Administration Vienna, Augasse 2 - 6, A-1090 Vienna,




Tadeusz FIJAŁ*

Keywords: environmental assessment methods, environmental assessment of technologies,

environmental assessment of products

The development of civilization accompanied by technological progress and the use of newer manufacturing

processes as well as the global volume of manufactured goods and services being provided lead to an

increasing impact of manufacturing processes and products on the environment.The necessity to reduce

adverse impact of manufacturing processes led to commonly accepted concept of eco-development based

on implementation of material saving and energy saving manufacturing processes, waste minimizing,

recovery and recycling, product life cycle analysis, product environmental labeling and promoting environment

friendly products. Such pro-ecological activities force, for example implementation of environmental

management systems in many enterprises for eco-development purposes.To achieve the goals

mentioned above and to assure proper functioning of environmental management systems it is of great

importance to provide an overall environmental assessment of manufacturing processes and products. An

environmental assessment, in particular the quantification of environmental impacts of processes and technical

facilities, is a quite new approach. Previously, environmental investigations consisted mainly in an

evaluation of pollution levels, generated wastes and discharged effluents.

The obtained results enabled to establish a relationship between the manufacturing process being

performed and the deteriorating state of the environment, and consequently some claims could be formed

against manufacturing plants or industrial regions.Currently, due to more and more common acceptance

and awareness of environmental items and the necessity to reduce adverse environmental effects of

manufacturing processes and products it is important to employ methods enabling an overall assessment of

manufacturing processes in the terms of nuisance (harmfulness) to the environment. Such methods allow to

establish relationships between quantities related to environmentally harmful industrial activities and the

manufacturing process. The use of such methods is forced by an eco-development strategy applied to

processes and products. They provide an important tool for quantitative analysis of environmental impacts

for manufacturing processes being planed or performed, and for pro-ecological activities to be taken.

General methods are used for environmental impact assessment of technical facilities. They are used for

estimating and quantifying environmental loads and can be considered to be tools of environmental

management systems.

Various methods (environmental procedures) are employed to perform such assessment. They are of

different scope and application and provide valuable data on nuisance to the environment resulting from the

processes and products under investigation.In this paper the recognized methods used for environmental

assessment of manufacturing processes and products are described and evaluated in the terms of suitability

to specified purposes and application.Any overall assessment of a manufacturing process should include at

FORUM WARE 34 (2006) Nr. 1 - 4

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