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Sustainability Benefits of Motor Oil Packaged In Flexible Packaging

Motor oil is a necessity, regardless of what you’re driving. But have you ever considered the packaging it comes in? Each year, an estimated 180 million gallons of used motor oil goes into the ground, down sewers and into landfills. We encourage you to check out the sustainability benefits of different motor oil packages before you make your next purchase.

In this packaging case study, motor oil in flexible stand-up pouches with fitments and rigid HDPE bottle formats were evaluated for their environmental impacts, with a full beginning to end life cycle.

When comparing the water consumption, carbon impact, and material disposal position within a full life cycle of the two packages, the case study found:

  • Water Consumption: The HDPE bottle uses 6x more water than the flexible stand-up pouch, mainly during the material development stage.
  • Carbon Impact: 
    • The rigid HDPE bottle emits 1.5x more greenhouse gas emissions than the stand-up flexible pouch.
    • Rigid HDPE bottles are recycled at a rate of 34.4%, but 2x more material ends up in landfills compared to the flexible stand-up pouch. 
  • Fossil Fuel Consumption: The rigid HDPE bottle weighs about 3x more than the flexible stand-up pouch and uses 173% more fossil fuel resources. 

The U.S. EPA Waste Hierarchy cites source reduction, or using less resources in production, as the preferred method for waste management. While both packages enable efficiency through high product-to-package ratios, the flexible stand-up pouch comes out ahead. Flexible stand-up pouches use less water and energy to produce and require fewer trucks for shipping, providing an eco-friendly package for motor oil. 

When evaluating recovery benefits, the study found:

  • Stand-up flexible pouches send far less materials to landfills than rigid HDPE bottles, which result in almost 2x more material ending up as municipal solid waste. 
  • The rigid HDPE bottle’s recycling rate would need to jump from 34.4% to 64% to have the same net discards as the stand-up flexible pouch.

As you can see, motor oil packaged in stand-up flexible pouches is more environmentally friendly and sustainable in terms of fossil fuel usage, greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and materials landfilled. Not to mention, the flexible stand-up pouch can be completely emptied, rolled up, and disposed of in a fraction of the space of used bottles, which are not often recycled because of oil residue. 

To view the complete motor oil flexible packaging life cycle assessment case study, visit flexpack.org. For more information and methodologies of the assessments, visit www.flexpack.org to download Flexible Packaging Association’s “A Holistic View of the Role of Flexible Packaging in a Sustainable World” report and refer to pages 129-167.


The Sustainability Benefits of Cat Litter Packaged in Flexible Packaging

Cat litter is essential for most cat owners. It helps to prevent strong odors from flowing through homes and it provides cats with a safe place to use the bathroom. But, have you ever considered the packaging cat litter comes in? Because it is a heavy product that needs to remain moisture free, cat litter requires strong and reliable packaging.

In this life cycle assessment case study, three types of cat litter packaging were compared for their sustainability benefits and impact on the environment from a full beginning to end-of-life cycle. When comparing a flexible stand-up bag, a paperboard barrier carton and a rigid plastic pail with handle, the case study revealed the following:

Water Consumption 

  • The paperboard barrier carton uses 3,573% more water than the flexible stand-up bag.
  • The rigid plastic pails’ water footprint is 1,370% higher than the stand-up bag in flexible packaging.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  • Compared to the flexible stand-up bag, the paperboard barrier carton emits 331% more greenhouse gas emissions and the rigid pail emits 996% more.

Fossil Fuel Consumption:

  • The paperboard barrier carton uses 69.6% more fossil fuel than the flexible stand-up bag due to the carton’s weight and energy needed in the paper making process.
  • In comparison to the stand-up bag in flexible packaging, the rigid pail requires 11x as much material and uses 1,429% more fossil fuel in manufacturing.

Cat litter packaged in flexible packaging also has significant recovery and source reduction benefits. This means it uses less resources to produce, and it is able to be reused. According to the U.S. EPA Waste Hierarchy, the most preferred method for waste management is source reduction!

The flexible stand-up bag sends approximately 9x less material to landfills than the paperboard barrier carton, and about 12x less material by weight than the rigid pail, even considering the recycling rate of the pail.

The recycling rate of the plastic rigid pail and its lid would need to jump from 11.1% to 90% to have the same amount of material sent to landfills as the flexible stand-up bag. The stand-up bag in flexible packaging also has a higher product-to-package ratio compared to the barrier carton and the rigid pail.

Next time you purchase cat litter, why not consider its impact on the environment along with its impact on you and your feline friend’s home. Cat litter in flexible packaging is a more environmentally friendly and sustainable choice than other types of packaging.  Its low carbon impact, fossil fuel usage, water usage, and amount of material to landfill all contribute to flexible packaging’s environmental benefits!

To view the full cat litter case study, visit flexpack.org. For more information and methodologies of assessments, click here to download Flexible Packaging Association’s “A Holistic View of the Role of Flexible Packaging in a Sustainable World” report and refer to pages 129-167.

Life Cycle Assessment Case Study – Baby Food Package Comparison

Baby food packaging has completely transformed over the past 10 years, evolving from glass jars to plastic thermoformed tubs and flexible stand-up pouches with fitments. Many parents today enjoy the convenience of flexible stand-up pouches because they are shatterproof, less messy, resealable, and reusable. However, it is not just consumers who benefit from flexible pouches.

In this Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study, the life cycles of a stand-up flexible pouch, plastic tub, and glass jar were reviewed for their environmental impacts. When comparing the water consumption, carbon impact, and material disposal position within a full life cycle of the three packaging options, the case study found the following:

  • Water consumption:The glass jar uses 1,294% more water than the stand-up flexible pouch.
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The glass jar uses 10x more material than the other two packages, and emits +302% more greenhouse gases than the stand-up flexible pouch.
  • Fossil Fuel Consumption: The glass jar uses 98.8% more fossil fuel than the stand-up flexible pouch.

According to the U.S. EPA Waste Hierarchy, the most preferred method for waste management is source reduction, or using less resources to produce and reusing the package. Because of the flexible stand-up pouches high product-to-package ratio, it sends less material to landfills than the glass jar and plastic tub.

  • The plastic thermoformed tub has a barrier layer that is difficult to process. This results in a 0% recycling rate, and 30% more of them end up in landfills compared to the flexible pouch.
  • Glass containers have a recycling rate of just over 30%, but the glass jar still sends 7x more material to landfills than the flexible stand-up pouch.

As you can see, baby food packaged in stand-up flexible pouches are not only convenient for parents and other consumers, they also provide positive, sustainable benefits to the environment as well.

To view the full baby food package case study, visit flexpack.org. For more information and methodologies of assessments, please visit www.flexpack.orgto download Flexible Packaging Association’s “A Holistic View of the Role of Flexible Packaging in a Sustainable World” report and refer to pages 129-167.

Sustainability of Laundry Detergent Pods

Laundry detergent pods are favored by many consumers due to their lack of mess and precise measuring, which makes the process of doing laundry much easier. When taking a closer look, have you considered the larger packaging that carries the laundry pods we’ve all grown to love? Stand-up pouches with zippers and round PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) plastic containers are two popular options that people commonly purchase. We urge you to check out the sustainability benefits of each before choosing which one to purchase. 

In this laundry detergent pod packaging study, both stand-up flexible pouches and rigid PET plastic containers were assessed for their environmental impacts from the beginning to the end of their life cycles. When comparing the water consumption, carbon impact, and material disposal position within a full life cycle of the two packaging options, the case study found the following:                 

  • Water Consumption: The rigid PET container uses +660% more water than the stand-up flexible pouch
  • Carbon Impact: The PET container emits +726% more greenhouse gases than the flexible pouch with zipper. 
  • Fossil Fuel Consumption: The PET container’s fossil fuel usage is nearly 504% higher than the flexible stand-up pouch and the package weight is 6 times heavier.

The U.S. EPA Waste Hierarchy cites source reduction, or using less resources to produce, and reuse, as the preferred method to reduce overall waste. The stand-up flexible pouch uses less water and energy to produce and it is lighter and more efficient for shipping purposes. This helps to reduce waste before it even has the chance to start!

When evaluating recovery benefits, the study found that the PET container sends 4x more material to landfills than the stand-up flexible pouch. The recycling rate of the PET container and its cap would need to jump from 30% to over 80% to match the flexible pouch’s amount of landfilled material. 

As you can see, the stand-up flexible pouch is a more sustainable option for laundry pod packaging. Its low carbon impact, fossil fuel usage, water usage, and amount of material in landfills all contribute to flexible packaging’s environmental benefits. 

To view the full case study, visit flexpack.org. For more information and methodologies of the assessments, visit www.flexpack.org to download the Flexible Packaging Association’s “A Holistic View of the Role of Flexible Packaging in a Sustainable World” report and refer to pages 129-167.

Life Cycle Assessment: Coffee Packaging Case Study

Ground coffee is enjoyed by many people throughout the world. The average American drinks 3.2 cups a day! But have you ever considered the packaging coffee comes in? Surprisingly, you have many options, and we encourage you to check out the sustainability benefits before deciding which ground coffee to purchase. In this coffee packaging study, a 12 oz. stand-up flexible pouch, an 8 oz. steel can, and a 10.8 oz. plastic canister were evaluated for their environmental impacts, with a full beginning to end life cycle.

When comparing the water consumption, carbon impact, and material disposal position within a full life cycle of these packaging options, the case study found:                

  • Water Consumption: 
    • The steel can uses 16x as much water as the stand-up flexible pouch, mainly during the material development stage.
    • The plastic canister consumes 2x as much water as the stand-up flexible pouch due to water usage during the injection molding process.
  • Carbon Impact: The plastic canister and steel can respectively emit 4x and 7x more GHG emissions than the stand-up flexible pouch.
  • Fossil Fuel Consumption: A steel can and plastic canister respectively use 453% and 518% more fossil fuel than a stand-up flexible pouch.

According to the U.S. EPA Waste Hierarchy, the most preferred method for waste management is source reduction, or using less resources to produce and reuse the packaging. Flexible stand-up pouches use less water and energy to produce, are lighter and more efficient for shipping purposes, contribute to the reduction of food waste, and are resealable. This helps to reduce waste before it even has the chance to be created!

When evaluating recovery benefits, the study found that stand-up flexible pouches send far less materials to landfills compared to the other packaging options:

  • The plastic canister’s recycling rate would need to jump from 34% to 84% to have the same net discards as the stand-up flexible pouch
  • The steel can’s recycling rate would need to increase from 71% to 93% to match the stand-up flexible pouches’ amount of landfilled material

As you can see, the stand-up flexible pouch is a more environmentally friendly and sustainable option when it comes to packaging. Its low carbon impact, fossil fuel usage, water usage, and amount of material to landfill all contribute to flexible packaging’s environmental attributes. Not to mention, stand-up flexible pouches also have a high product-to-package ratio, meaning you’ll have more fresh coffee to enjoy!

To view the full coffee packaging case study, visit flexpack.org. For more information and methodologies of the assessments, visit www.flexpack.org to download Flexible Packaging Association’s “A Holistic View of the Role of Flexible Packaging in a Sustainable World” report and refer to pages 129-166.

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