Combining Eco-Design and LCA as Decision-Making Process to Prevent Plastics in Packaging Application
Catégorie : Nouveaux Matériaux
Date :17 décembre 2020
Avis TSC : In response to the plastic pollution of the environment that is becoming more and more obvious to the citizens and consumers that we are, companies are beginning to consider leaving the world of overall plastic. The article presents here the case of small and medium-sized enterprises that have made in their strategy a desire to eliminate plastic, as much as possible, in their packaging, but to avoid falling into the trap of unsustainability with another material, they carried out an analysis of the life cycle of the different eco-designed materials before making their decision very early in terms of design. The result was a substitution of plastic parts in the packaging by their cardboard-based counterparts. The overall balance sheet is positive on energy consumption, the sustainability of the raw material part and recyclability. The benefits not included in the calculation of the LCA, but also significant, are the reduction of overall consumption of plastics and the reduction of marine plastic pollution. The movement is starting at the initiative of certain companies, here SMEs, consumer groups but also some retailers, such as the Biocoop network which announces a desire for zero plastic in the packaging of products sold in their stores, a way to stimulate the creativity of companies. As such, change is not as far away as we are told in this area.
The diffusion of the culture of sustainability and circular economy increasingly pushes companies to adopt green strategies and integrate circular business models in the corporate agenda. It assumes higher relevance in the packaging industry because of the growing plastics demand, the increasing awareness of consumers on single-use-products, the low recyclability performance and last but not least, the challenge of urban littering and microplastics dispersion in marine ecosystem. This paper presents the case of a small-medium enterprise that implemented a decision-making process to rethink the design of frozen food packaging in accordance with systemic and life cycle thinking. Eco-design and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) have been simultaneously used to test and validate the redesign process, thus fostering the substitution of the plastic “open and close” cap with a closing method entirely made of cardboard. Results shows how using an integrated decision-making system at the design stage have allowed to get up many benefits at multiple levels, including sustainable and safe supply chain, efficient logistic operations, better recyclability, and lower energy consumption. Moreover, even if it cannot be assessed by the existing tools, the solution provides a strong contribution to the reduction in the consumption of plastics and the prevention of marine pollution.