Trivium releases White Paper pushing for more holistic sustainability assessments

A new White Paper from Trivium Packaging examines the role of traditional Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tools, and argues the case for a more holistic approach that reveals the wider impact of packaging materials on the waste stream and shelf life.

With origins in the 1960s, existing LCAs form the basis of international standards such as ISO 14040, and are especially valuable when assessing CO2 emissions, according to Trivium. Some issues arise around the use of different tools and varying methods of calculation, but LCAs remain an important tool for brand owners seeking to measure sustainability performance and engage with consumers.

Trivium believes there is room for improvement, and Jenny Wassenaar, VP Sustainability, said that the new White Paper highlights how brand owners could take the next step and show that their packaging is truly sustainable: “Cradle-to-Gate, Cradle-to-Grave, and Circular LCAs have a role to play, but a more comprehensive Holistic Packaging Sustainability Assessment could give brand owners even more compelling sustainability credentials. Such an assessment would take into account all aspects relating to circularity such as recycled content, recycling rate, intrinsic yield, and substitution of primary resources.”

Real-world performance of packaging materials varies widely. For example, 80% of metal is recycled in Europe, but only 41% of plastics. Wassenaar underlined that steel and aluminum perform also particularly well when a wider view of recycling is adopted: “Metal packaging is infinitely recyclable without a loss of quality or downcycling, and recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy required for primary production. We know that packaging is a valuable communication channel for encouraging consumers to recycle waste, and prominent logos such as the ‘Metal Recycles Forever’ logo are part of this.”

Trivium believes a Holistic Packaging Sustainability Assessment would also take into account the ability to protect products during transportation and the expected shelf life, and how these factors impact expected food waste.

The White Paper is available for download at: TriviumPackaging.com.

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