The experts of Albstadt-Sigmaringen Hochschule together with European Bioplastics organized a workshop within the framework of the #BioSupPack project and the #EBC23 conference, involving several participants in exploring the challenges posed by the choice of different polymers for packaging and more specifically how the Life Cycle Assessments can be used to evaluate the ecological sustainability of these polymers. The interactive format collected inputs from participants on the current challenges and potential solutions to overcome them, in a world café format.
Several factors play a major role in the choice of which biobased polymers are most suitable: functionality /properties, processability and consumer perception, consideration of end-of-life options, legal requirements, sustainability (ecological, economic, and social) and costs.
Several sustainability assessment methods are available, but the most harmonized method is the LCA based on the ISO14040 and 14044. LCA can be a useful tool for evaluating the ecological sustainability of the biobased polymers: LCA enables quantifiable comparison between different bio-based (& fossil-based) polymers and it allows to compare the environmental sustainability of polymers / packaging. But functionality must also be included, as products often have higher resource consumption and consequently higher potential environmental impact than their packaging.
Ultimately LCAs enables you to identify the most environmental (ecological, social) sustainable option, cost reduction, optimization of product environmental footprint, useful for marketing.
A presentation of the ASU experts is available on Zenodo. A report of the consolidated inputs of the participants will be made available in the next days. Stay tuned!