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Assessing the Environmental Sustainability of Food Packaging: An Extended Life Cycle Assessment including Packaging-Related Food Losses and Waste and Circularity Assessment

Section of Packaging Technology and Resource Management, University of Applied Science, 1030 Vienna, Austria
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Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 925; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030925
Received: 29 January 2019 / Revised: 3 February 2019 / Accepted: 7 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Materials for Food Packaging)
Food packaging helps to protect food from being lost or wasted, nevertheless it is perceived as an environmental problem. The present study gives an overview of methods to assess the environmental sustainability of food packaging. Furthermore, we propose a methodological framework for environmental assessment of food packaging. There is a broad consensus on the definition of sustainable packaging, which has to be effective, efficient, and safe for human health and the environment. Existing frameworks only provide general guidance on how to quantify the environmental sustainability of packaging. Our proposed framework defines three sustainability aspects of food packaging, namely direct environmental effects of packaging, packaging-related food losses and waste, as well as circularity. It provides a list of key environmental performance indicators and recommends certain calculation procedures for each indicator. The framework is oriented towards the Product Environmental Footprint initiative and the Circular Economy Package of the European Union. Further research should develop a method to determine the amount of packaging-related food losses and waste. Moreover, future studies should examine the potential environmental benefits of different measures to make food packaging more circular. View Full-Text
Keywords: food packaging; environmental sustainability; life cycle assessment; circular economy; food losses and waste; sustainability framework food packaging; environmental sustainability; life cycle assessment; circular economy; food losses and waste; sustainability framework
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Pauer, E.; Wohner, B.; Heinrich, V.; Tacker, M. Assessing the Environmental Sustainability of Food Packaging: An Extended Life Cycle Assessment including Packaging-Related Food Losses and Waste and Circularity Assessment. Sustainability 2019, 11, 925.

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