A full life cycle assessment (LCA), commissioned by the European Paper Packaging Alliance (EPPA), compared the overall environmental effects of takeaway single-use and multiple-use packaging in an average quick-service restaurant (QSR) for 365 days in Europe.
The full LCA report is ISO 14040/44 compliant and has been subject to an external third-party panel composed of three renowned LCA experts and academics from Sweden, Italy and Germany respectively.
Whereas previous LCA studies analysed only the environmental impact of products, this study adopted a more holistic approach based on the entire working system of the restaurants. Robust, reliable and up-to-date primary data related to the relevant parameters was used for the purpose of the study, including type of washing and types of dishwashers, reuse rates, return rates, means of transport and distances covered.
Nine sensitivity analyses were conducted to test the decisive assumptions of the study. Different return rate, number of reuses or washing scenarios were analysed confirming a clear advantage for single-use paper-based packaging.