Analysis of existing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies

Material choices for environment-friendly packaging design

  • Siddharth Prakash
    Senior Researcher / Head of Subdivision Circular Economy & Global Value Chains Sustainable Products & Material Flows

There is a growing agreement on negative consequences of increasing single-use plastic and packaging waste to human health, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, climate change and biodi- versity. However, implementation of measures to tackle the problem vary considerably. The prevalent inconsistency in the measures to address the problem of single-use plastics and packaging waste is partly due to a lack of knowledge on environmental impacts and potentials of material choices for sustainable packaging designs and single-use plastic alternatives. Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology offers a comprehensive analysis of the environmental impact of packaging materials, highlighting areas of urgent intervention, and showing potential conflict of interest between different environmental goals. This report is based on a literature review of several LCA studies conducted to analyze the environmental impact of different packaging materials and alternatives.

The report focusses on five packaging applications: shopping bags, beverage containers, beverage cups, take-away food packaging and meat packaging.