09.02.17 // Heritage Paper
“Green” initiatives have become more than just a fad in recent years, as businesses and consumers grow more aware of their true impact on the environment. With an increasing number of eco-friendly products hitting the shelves, there comes a need to carefully analyze the real benefits, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of their life cycle. A life cycle assessment, or LCA, identifies opportunities for improvement by quantifying the impacts that a product has on the environment throughout its full life cycle – from production and manufacturing to the disposal phase. A full LCA is also known as a “Cradle to Grave” sustainability assessment. Read on to learn more about the benefits of LCAs.
LCAs carefully assess each step of a product or package’s life, from the raw materials used during production to what happens after the product is thrown into the trash. By doing this, companies gain a better grasp of exactly how beneficial each process is to the environment, while capturing the cost savings of greener efforts. With this information, businesses can also back up any environmental claims as more than simply marketing strategies, and consumers can better understand the environmental impact of their purchases. Too many companies take advantage of consumers’ confusion regarding sustainable efforts, using labels like “eco-friendly” and “green” to build an image and drive profits, rather than truly assess the impact of their products. LCAs are a proactive approach to a healthier future.
By using LCAs in packaging development, companies can examine the materials used in their packaging strategy and determine whether or not a safer, more cost-effective alternative is necessary. Rather than find a better solution for recycling plastic containers, making changes at the source of the package’s life cycle by switching to recycled paperboard can have a positive impact on all other processes throughout the cycle, from design to disposal. Examining the production and manufacturing stage quantifies how much fuel and energy is used to create the package, so that the appropriate solutions can be implemented to reduce emissions. This leads to a final product that is safe at all stages of its life for true sustainability.
Learning more about the life cycle of a product or package opens the opportunity for growth and innovation. Companies can pinpoint exact processes in which change and improvement is necessary, leading to cost-effective and environmentally friendly solutions.
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