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Science of Paper Packaging

Environmental Performance

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Scientific research has demonstrated that single-use paper packaging is one of the most eco-friendly packaging options, far surpassing reusable alternatives in terms of environmental benefits.

Two recent studies, dedicated to in-store consumption and takeaway, comparing single-use and multiple-use tableware systems, found that single-use paper-based packaging used for in-store consumption in Quick-Service-Restaurants (QSR), offers substantial environmental advantages compared to reusable alternatives. 



The environmental impact of substituting single-use, paper-based packaging with reusable alternatives for takeaway meals would result in 92% more CO2 equivalent emissions and 64% more freshwater consumption.

With an 81.5% recycling rate, paper packaging leads all packaging materials, according to the European Commission.

The study was independently verified by panel of three senior experts in the field.

Indeed, for all 12 impact categories analysed, single- use was found to present significant environmental advantages compared to multiple-use.

Furthermore, reusable packaging generates 129% more fine particulate matter, 85% more fossil depletion and 433% more metal depletion.

For dine-in, a recent report by Kearney suggests that the total amount of plastic packaging waste may experience a staggering increase of up to 300% if reusables are mandated by 2030.

Implementing reuse models, both for in-store and takeaway,  would require a significant increase in water consumption, ranging from 1 to 4 billion litres, depending on the specific reuse targets. This substantial surge in water usage has significant implications for resource management, especially in regions where water scarcity is already a pressing concern.

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