Today, shoppers, brands, and retailers are all focused on more sustainable packaging solutions. To determine which packaging alternatives are better for the environment, you really need to consider all impacts throughout a package’s life cycle. These “Life Cycle Assessments” reveal that flexible packaging typically creates less environmental impact compared to traditional packaging options. Here’s a simplified look at the impacts that factor into the calculation:
materials, energy and water used, emissions generated
transportation costs, shelf life, potential waste
End of Life
recycling potential versus landfill waste generated
The Life Cycle Assessment packaging case studies below provide foresight into future sustainability implications of these versatile materials. The six LCA case studies evaluate packaging formats across a range of products for their environmental impacts with a cradle-to-grave boundary.
Below find several specific examples from case studies comparing every day products using flexible packaging versus other types of packaging. See the difference in environmental impact across the entire life cycle: greenhouse gas emissions (carbon impact), fossil fuel usage, water usage, product-to-package ratio, as well as material to landfill.
A rigid PET container for laundry detergent pods emits +726% more greenhouse gases than a flexible pouch with zipper
A HDPE bottle for motor oil packaging consumes +513% more water than a flexible pouch with fitment
A rigid pail for cat litter packaging consumes +1,429% more fossil fuel than a flexible bag
+31% more thermoformed tubs for baby food packaging ends up in a landfill compared to a flexible pouch with fitment
A steel can for packaging coffee consumes +1,605% more water than a flexible pouch
A single serve juice flexible pouch efficiently uses packaging with a product-to-package ratio of +97%
Some of the environmental impact differences between flexible packaging and other packaging are obvious, whereas others are not: