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Press Release: Independent analysis reveals reusable packaging up to 85% more climate-friendly than single-use

Press release: Independent analysis shows that the reusable packaging is 85% more climate-friendly than the single-use

For immediate release: Brussels, December 7, 2020

Today, Zero Waste Europe and Reloop in collaboration with Utrecht University released a report showing that reusable packaging-such as bottles, crates, cans, etc.-generate far less carbon emissions than single-use packaging .

The "Reusable and Disposable Packaging: Environmental Impact Review" study compared 32 life cycle assessments (LCA) of 11 different types of packaging and analyzed their impact on the environment at different stages of the product life cycle. This includes parameters such as the number of production, transportation, reuse opportunities, and disposal.

The main findings of the report include:

Reusable glass bottles produce 85% less carbon emissions than disposable glass bottles, 75% less carbon emissions than plastic (PET), and 57% less carbon emissions than aluminum cans. Similarly, reusable plastic boxes generate 88% less carbon emissions than disposable cardboard boxes, 64% less emissions, and 5% less emissions than wooden boxes. Packaging and transportation methods, including distance and transportation methods, have the greatest impact on an item. Packaging has the greatest impact on the environment.

The report also identified key measures to improve the environmental sustainability of reusable packaging. This includes the standardization of packaging, the implementation of deposit return programs, and changes to the way packaging is transported-all of which can reduce the carbon emissions of reusable containers.

Larissa Copello, a zero-waste consumer and production activist in Europe, said:

"The report emphasizes the need to stop viewing packaging as an important asset for products, and start to focus on efficiency and rethink the current way of delivering products to consumers. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to our society, it is also Decision makers took action and got rid of the current culture of over-packaging, and turned to more conscious production and consumption to create momentum."

Clarissa Morawski, CEO of Reloop said:

"This report shows that in saving the planet, there is no zero-sum choice between reducing carbon emissions and reducing waste. Urgent and innovative measures must be taken to encourage the use of highly efficient reusable containers while reducing the environmental impact of disposable containers. The survey results tell us that extremely high collection rates are the key to improving the carbon footprint of reusable and disposable packaging. The government must now take mandatory measures to require packaging manufacturers to meet these ratios for effective solutions, such as beverages. The container deposit system can bring benefits to the economy and the environment."

Download the full report. Download the executive summary of the report. Download the report’s main findings infographic. Download the supporting policy documents for the report.

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Media contact: Larissa Copello, consumption and production activist for Zero Waste Europe | +32 (0) 2 736 20 91 Rossella Recupero, Zero Waste Communications Officer for Europe | +39 3404739827

About Zero Waste Europe

Zero Waste Europe is a European network of communities, local leaders, experts and change agents dedicated to eliminating waste in our society. We advocate sustainable systems and redesign our relationship with resources to accelerate a just transition to zero waste for the benefit of mankind and the planet.

About recirculation

Reloop is an international non-profit organization that brings together industries, governments, and non-governmental organizations. They share a common vision for a thriving global circular economy-a system that continuously uses resources and eliminates waste and pollution. Our extensive network seeks to bring about positive changes at all levels of resource and waste policy. We want a pollution-free world, an ambitious comprehensive circular economy that allows our precious resources to become resources, allowing humans, businesses and nature to flourish. Reloop can also be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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