Life Cycle Analysis
Life cycle analysis is also known as life cycle assessment, or abbreviated to LCA. The total life cycle of a packaging, from raw material mining to recycling, can be taken in this analysis. The goal is to analyse the impact of the packaging on the environment and/or to see how it stacks up against alternatives.
A life cycle analysis consists of four steps:
- Establishing goal and scope (what to include)
- Analysing the inventory (i.e. gathering necessary data)
- Performing the actual life cycle analysis, which considers five stages:
- Raw material extraction
- Manufacturing of the packaging (this can include filling with product)
- Transport of the packaging
- Use of the packaging (considering requirements)
- End-of-life (recycling, incineration, landfill, etc.)
- Interpreting the results (what do they actually mean)
I like to add a fifth step to that: design and optimization. Here, the results of the analysis are used in practice, for instance, to create a more sustainable packaging.
Results of a life cycle analysis can for example look like any of the graphs below. This data can then be used to optimize the packaging, enable sustainable procurement, create a strategy for sustainability or simply for marketing purposes.
Enabling choices between packaging materials
Carbon footprint in g CO2 eq.
Identifying biggest contributors of the life cycle
Ozone depletion in g CFC-11 eq.
Calculation the carbon footprint of your packaging
Or any other impact indicator
A Life Cycle Analysis can be used for a wide variety of analysis
Get in touch with me to find out!
Life Cycle Assessment - Previous collaborations
My graduation thesis was performed at the company Royal FrieslandCampina, a Dutch multinational dairy cooperative. Here, I did developed a strategy to make their packaging more sustainable. This strategy I still use myself in my everyday packaging optimization process. To make this strategy, I worked on FrieslandCampina’s Infant Formula and Toddler Nutrition (IFT) brand Friso.
I analyzed all parts of the packaging over the entire lifecycle in a Life Cycle Assessment. I calculated the carbon footprint, and saw where the biggest contributors to the total impact were located. I then designed packaging alternatives that tackled these biggest contributors, which resulted in packaging concepts with a lower impact. In the end, packaging concepts were created that were both economical and sustainable, with carbon footprint reductions of up to 70% (!).
For the company Ecotray, I performed a Life Cycle Assessment on their food tray. A sustainable option for food packaging that is currently made from plastics. This cardboard packaging with a PET layer was analyzed with a Life Cycle Assessment and the carbon footprint was calculated. This showed the big sustainability advantages of the Ecotray over existing alternatives.
Furthermore, research was performed on the recycling possibilities of the Ecotray. Also, specific recycling factories were found that could handle these kinds of packaging in their recycling streams.