The choice of the packaging can lead to savings of carbon dioxide emissions. This is the finding of a study by the Fraunhofer Institute “Umsicht”, which was commissioned by Poly-clip System GmbH & Co.KG to investigate how environmentally friendly their packaging for meat products is.
With the help of life cycle assessments, the carbon footprint of a product is determined along its life cycle and enables a statement to be made about its climate impact. In the study, the scientists compared clip closure solutions with tray-type and thermoformed packages as well as injection-moulded tubs for defined meat products. In order to determine the carbon footprint, processes ranging from the extraction of raw materials (e.g. crude oil) through to the finished packaging solution, including the waste disposal of the packaging, were taken into account in the ecological analysis. A comparison unit was taken as a basis for comparing the packaging . To this end, the packaging of 150 grams of sausage spread was taken as a basis for comparing spreadable sausage packages and the packaging of 150 grams of sliced meat was assumed for comparing packages of cold cut meat slices. The calculation is initially based on the weight, materials and manufacturing processes of the packaging solutions. The analysis of the materials was carried out by infrared spectroscopy and the manufacturing processes producing the packaging plastics were mapped using commercial life cycle assessment databases.
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“For cold cuts, using the clip closure solution can save around 0.05 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents by comparison with thermoformed packaging. Extrapolated to the consumption of cold cuts in Germany, this results in a saving of 4,090 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents per year and corresponds to around 30,000 kilometers of travel by car,” says Nils Thonemann from the Sustainability and Resource Management Department at the Fraunhofer Institute “Umsicht”. He adds that “In the case of spreadable sausage packaging, up to 0.04 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents per unit of comparison and 3,270 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents based on total German consumption of spreadable sausage per year are saved by using the clip closure solution”. “We expected our packaging solutions to have environmental benefits. The study enables us to quantify these benefits for our customers for the first time,” says Kristian Blomqvist, Vice President Sales and Marketing at Poly-clip System.