Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

The sustainable consumption of domestic products: the environmental effect of packaging

Montse Meneses, Jorgelina Pasqualino, Francesc Castells Piqué


Today consumers are offered a wide range of packaging alternatives for the same product, including food items, cleaning products or health care articles, although these products are used for identical purposes. There is a crucial need to increase our knowledge of the environmental consequences of domestic product packaging in order to implement improvements that promote sustainability.
A life cycle assessment (LCA) case study was performed in order to detect and quantify the environmental impact of different packaging options (materials (plastics, glass, can, tetra brick) and sizes (200 ml, 1 liter, 5 liters, etc.)) for one type of domestic product (beverage). Furthermore, two final disposal options (recycling and landfilling) were compared to evaluate the impact of each method on the environment.
The results of the LCA for the different packaging types indicate that disposing of recyclable materials in landfills has a far greater environmental impact than recycling those materials. This means that recycling activities are not only beneficial in protecting the environment but also in terms of saving precious land space. Results of the life cycle impact assessment for the different packaging systems demonstrate the critical importance of recycling packaging material rather than disposing of it in landfills.

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