Blog #1: Why is a Brineys salt pot sustainable?

1 February 2021 | Jasper van Asselt

In this first blog of Brineys, we discuss the sustainability of the Brineys salt pots since sustainability is one of Brineys core values. Brineys has two types of salt pots as seen in the figure below, an “Origineel Brineys zoutvaatje” (on the left) and a “Brineys zoutvermaler” (on the right). Before we dive into the sustainability of those salt pots, we first must define the concept of what sustainability is and to which extent this concept is used in this blog. This is because sustainability is a widely used concept with lots of different interpretations and usages. After the definition of sustainability, the sustainability of the salt pots is discussed. We close this blog with a discussion in which I invite you to give your opinion on what you read in this blog. In this way, we could inspire each other on how to develop sustainable products and improve the global understanding of sustainability.

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What is sustainability?
The sustainability of a product includes the usage of resources (e.g. land, materials, transportation, tools and energy), the emissions (e.g. waste, carbon dioxide, oxygen, toxic substances and heavy metals) as well as its harmony with the surroundings (e.g. labor circumstances, climate and biodiversity). This applies for each phase of the products’ life cycle. The products’ life cycle contains the extraction of raw materials phase, the production phase, the usage phase, and the end-of-life phase (this is visualized in the figure on the right). Ideally, the product life cycle is completely circular (thick arrows) without any side streams (thin arrows). In practice, there are always side streams, and the challenge is to reduce those as much as possible.

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The sustainability of a product could only be assessed when the whole product life cycle (see figure above) is considered. Otherwise, the assessment is not valid. For example, one could say that an electric car is the most sustainable way of transportation compared to a gasoline car. Arguments for this are the (harmful) emissions of gasoline cars such as carbon dioxide and particulate matter, while an electric car does not have these emissions directly when the electricity is directly supplied from photovoltaic panels. Of course, this is true when you are only looking at the usage phase. However, the extraction of raw materials phase for the electric car could be many times harmful emissions compared to the gasoline car. Only looking at this phase, the gasoline car is more sustainable, while we are still talking about the same cars. Therefore, it is important that the whole product life cycle is considered when assessing its sustainability. However, this could be difficult since necessary information could be missing.


How sustainable are the Brineys salt pots?
In the table below, an attempt is made to represent the sustainability of the Brineys salt pots. The Brineys salt pot “Origineel Brineys zoutvaatje” is the most sustainable option to choose because of the absence of glue and plastic. Less resources are needed which in terms of sustainability means “less is more”!

What is your opinion?

We invite you to give your opinion on what you have read. In this blog, I gave you a perspective on sustainability. However, a perspective is by its nature always subjective. Therefore, I invite you to give your perspective on sustainability in general or on the Brineys salt pots. Also, if you have any ideas or suggestions on how to improve the sustainability on products in general please, share it as well!

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