A simplified environmental evaluation tool for food packaging to support decision-making in packaging development

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Packaging developers in the food industry must consider several, sometimes conflicting, environmental requirements on packaging along with an already complex combination of marketing, logistics and production requirements. Existing methods for the environmental evaluation of packaging either focus on a limited amount of environmental packaging criteria (such as recyclability or renewable content) or rely on life cycle assessment methodology requiring expert competence. To support the food industry in their efforts toward developing product and packaging combinations that reduce the total environmental impact in food supply chains, this article presents a simplified environmental evaluation tool for food packaging. The presented tool was developed through an iterative process in a collaborative research project with the food industry. It evaluates packaging systems based on packaging criteria sorted into four areas that represent the life-cycle steps packaging material production, transport, household and end-of-life. A comparison of the tool results and screening LCA results for three packaging cases showed no major differences. From the practitioners' perspective, the main advantages of the suggested tool are that it does not require LCA-competence, that the required input data is commonly available in packaging development projects and that its overall structure invites several functions of the company to participate. The theoretical benefits of the suggested tool are that it allows for a parallel assessment of eco-efficiency and eco-effectiveness criteria in a life cycle perspective and that it considers littering risk as well as the influence of packaging on food waste in households.


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Sidor (från-till)141-157
Antal sidor17
TidskriftPackaging Technology and Science
Utgåva nummer4-5
Tidigt onlinedatum2020
StatusPublished - 2020 apr
Peer review utfördJa