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Life Cycle Inventory Studies

Using the most current scientific research to validate our processes.

Life Cycle Inventory Studies

Sustainable Products

Overlap

Foam and Coated Paperboard Plates

At Pactiv, minimizing our environmental footprint is an ongoing effort. To that end, we utilize the most current scientific research to validate our processes.

Click here to access a 2009 study that analyzes the impact of foam and coated paperboard plates and concludes that the products have less of an environmental impact than other paper products.

For continually updated information on the life cycle inventories of all packaging materials, visit the American Chemistry Council.

Life Cycle Inventory Comparison: 9" Polystyrene Foam and Poly-Coated Paper Plates2

  Energy Usage Greenhouse Gas Potential Material Usage Solid Waste
Polystyrene Foam 50% Less 50% Less 2.5 X Less 65% Less
Facts Polystyrene foam uses significantly less energy during its life cycle. Greenhouse Gas emissions are significantly less with polystyrene foam. Polystyrene foam plates are 90% air and use 2.5 times less material. The solid waste impact of polystyrene foam is significantly less.
Comparison5 Replacing polystyrene foam plates with poly-coated paper plates in Los Angeles County will increase the energy usage by the equivalent BTU’s of 500,000 gallons of gasoline.3 By replacing polystyrene foam with paper alternatives in Los Angeles County, GHG emissions will increase by an amount equivalent to adding 1,630 mid-size cars onto California roads each year.4 The material in 100 polystyrene foam plates is equal to the weight of 40 paper plates.1 Polystyrene foam foodservice packaging accounts for less than 1% by weight and volume of land-filled materials.
  1. Final Peer-Reviewed Report: Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) of Foam and Coated Paperboard Plates, Franklin Associates, Ltd., May 2008. LCI study compares 4.7g polystyrene foam plates and 12.1g poly-coated paper plates.
  2. Poly-coated paper plates containing virgin bleached paperboard
  3. Based on replacing 221,000,000 foam plates with paper plates in LA County, and using a value of 125,000 BTU for the energy content of a US gallon of gasoline as per US EPA's report Solid Waste Management and Greenhouse Gases - A Life Cycle Assessment of Emissions and Sinks, 3rd edition, September 2006, p.100.
  4. Based on 680 lb. CO2 emission increase per 10,000 paper plates, replacing 221,000,000 foam plates with paper plates, and on 9,200 lb. CO2 emission from an average car as per US EPA's report Solid Waste Management and Greenhouse Gases - A Life Cycle Assessment of Emissions and Sinks, 3rd edition, September 2006, p.100.
  5. Comparative results are based on, but are not part of, The Franklin Associates' LCI report.
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