Packaging Life Cycle Assessments

Comparing Single-Use and Reusable Packaging


Packaging Life Cycle Assessments

11. September 2023

Packaging Life Cycle Assessments


Sales Europe

    +49 2233 619 2072

If you need additional information on our products or would like to request a quote, we are happy to help.

Environmental concerns are paramount for companies today. When used in the right application, packaging solutions enable companies to reduce the environmental footprint of their supply chains while realising economic benefits. That is why the choice between different packaging types and materials has become a critical decision for businesses seeking to build more sustainable supply chains.

To make informed decisions and compare the impact of single-use and reusable packaging, companies can turn to packaging life cycle assessments (“PLCA”). PLCA is a comprehensive methodology that evaluates the environmental impact of a product or process across its entire lifecycle. Let’s explore how the concept of life cycle assessments aligns with today’s sustainability initiatives.

Understanding Life Cycle Assessments (“LCA”)

A life cycle assessment is a systematic approach used to quantify and evaluate the environmental impacts of a product, process, or activity through every phase of its life. It considers various stages, including natural resource extraction, manufacturing, transportation, usage, and end-of-life disposal. LCAs aim to provide a holistic perspective on environmental effects by considering factors such as resource consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and waste generation.

Packaging Life Cycle Assessments

How ORBIS is calculating environmental impacts

ORBIS offers packaging life-cycle assessments (PLCAs) that utilise data-driven options to help customers evaluate the benefits of switching to reusable packaging. Using the ORBIS PLCA tool, ORBIS product managers analyse their customers’ systems, design a solution and execute a reusable packaging program to meet and exceed their sustainability goals.

“By understanding the environmental impact of their choices, our customers can reduce their footprint and make a positive impact on the world. We believe that this PLCA tool will be a game-changer for companies looking to improve their bottom line and sustainability metrics.”, says Thomas Estock, Director of Sustainability at ORBIS Corporation. The PLCAs provide companies with the data needed to understand, document and improve upon their sustainability initiatives, including their environmental impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, solid waste and energy usage.

“By understanding the environmental impact of their choices, our customers can reduce their footprint and make a positive impact on the world.”

Thomas Estock, Director of Sustainability, ORBIS Corporation

Following the ISO LCA Methodology

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has established a standardised framework for conducting life cycle assessments. In combination with life-cycle data provided by a third-party LCA research firm, the ORBIS tool uses ISO LCA methodology to model all life-cycle steps from raw material extraction, packaging manufacturing, use, and end-of-life management.

In accordance with this methodology, ORBIS follows a simple three-step process: Relevant data will be collected and entered. Based on the inputs (raw materials, energy, water, etc.), the calculator generates and visualises the relevant outputs (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, energy consumption and waste). An ORBIS product manager will explain and interpret the results in person or virtually.

The Benefits of Packaging Life Cycle Assessments

  • Easy process with clear, concise and sharable results
  • Simple inputs include product weight, trip distance, trip number, etc.
  • Provides data that can be used in sustainability scorecards
  • Assessments are customised and calculations are specific to your unique application
  • Recognises all standard packaging manufacturing processes
  • Utilises ISO certified life-cycle data, provided by a 3rd party LCA research firm
Sample Results of Packaging Life Cycle Assessment

Sustainability in Modern Supply Chains

The adoption of life cycle assessments in supply chain decision-making aligns well with the growing sustainability trend. Here’s how:

1. Holistic Approach: LCAs consider the complete lifecycle of products, revealing environmental impacts that might not be immediately apparent. This allows businesses to make more informed choices by considering the broader implications of their decisions.

2. Environmental Implications: By comparing the environmental impact of single-use and reusable packaging, companies can identify the best option for their application. A data-driven approach helps in designing and implementing more sustainable packaging strategies.

Sustainable Load Carriers for the Automotive Industry

3. Consumer Preferences: 90% of consumers want companies to do more than turn a profit. The more environmentally conscious consumers are inclined to support brands that prioritise sustainability.

4. Regulatory Compliance: Many regions are implementing stricter environmental regulations. LCAs help companies understand the potential environmental consequences of their choices, supporting their compliance and risk management initiatives.

5. Innovation and improvement: LCAs can reveal areas with opportunities for improvement – in terms of resource efficiency, energy usage, and waste reduction. This drives innovation and encourages more sustainable practices.

Life cycle assessments are a powerful tool for businesses to compare the environmental impacts of different packaging options. As the world moves towards more responsible consumption and production patterns, integrating LCAs into decision-making processes is a significant step towards a more sustainable future.

We are here to help you evaluate the impact that reusable packaging has on the environment!


    +49 2233 619 2072

More Articles in Our News

Embracing Automation in Logistics & Supply Chains

In a highly competitive business environment, companies across industries are looking to increase productivity and drive efficiency in their supply chains. One element that plays a crucial role in this automation revolution is: Packaging. Reusable plastic packaging is compatible with a wide variety of automated system requirements. And why is that? The key reasons come from its plastic construction. Hear about some of the benefits.

ORBIS Corporation Welcomes Thomas Estock As Director Of Sustainability

At ORBIS Europe, we understand the importance of reducing waste and minimising the use of resources in our customers’ and our own operations. That is why ORBIS® Corporation has appointed Thomas Estock as its new Director of Sustainability. The position will focus on furthering sustainability efforts throughout the company, while helping customers improve their sustainability performance and meet their ESG goals with reusable packaging.

Wood vs. Plastic

Pallets are an essential part of supply chains across almost all industries. When transporting goods on pallets, companies have the choice between two main materials: wood and plastic. While wood pallets have been the go-to-choice for long, plastic pallets have emerged as a popular alternative in recent years. Let’s take a closer look at the main differences between wood pallets and plastic pallets.