Designing packs with the right eco-profile

Packaging Professional magazine
,
13 Mar 2009

An online comparison tool to help designers in the USA and Europe choose the most environmentally-friendly material for their packaging is being launched by GreenBlue, a not-for-profit institute in the USA focused on creative redesign to implement sustainable solutions.

COMPASS compares the entire lifecycle of various packaging materials and their production processes to identify those with the least environmental impact.

It covers polymers, fibre-based materials, metals and container glass, and includes HDPE, PP, PVC, polycarbonate, corrugated paper, aluminium and steel. The processing techniques examined include blow moulding, extrusion, foaming, thermoforming, cutting, sheet rolling and paper product production.

‘COMPASS allows users to compare primary and secondary packages, and packaging systems, for any kind of application,’ explains Erin Malec, Director of External Relations at GreenBlue.

‘A designer can input up to four design options, and it will provide environmental profiles [for each].’

A graph demonstrates the profiles in terms of fossil fuel, water and mineral con-sumption, greenhouse gas emissions, recyclability, material sourcing and solid waste production. Transportation is also considered.

The tool’s metrics draw on inventory, manufacture and end-of-life data available from the US Environmental Defense Fund and ecoinvent, a European lifecycle inventory database.
The tool will be available to non-members of GreenBlue from 23 March, for an annual fee of US$750.

Further information: Compass