A study released by the European Paper Packaging Association (EPPA) reveals that single-use paper-based food and drink packaging used in European quick service restaurants is better for the environment than reusable tableware.
The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been carried by Ramboll, the independent Danish consultants to the European Commission, and certified by TUV.
The study used current primary data from the paper, packaging and foodservice industries to compare the environmental performance over a year of typical disposable and reusable food and drink containers used in a quick-service restaurant for in-store consumption.
The Ramboll Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) found that, assuming realistic usage over a year, the energy consumption involved in the use phase of reusable plastic and traditional crockery, during in-store or out-sourced washing and drying, outweighed the environmental impact of single-use paper dishes. The baseline report reveals that reusable tableware generated 177% more CO2-e emissions than the paper-based single-use system, consumed 267% more freshwater, produced 132% more fine particulates matter, increased fossil depletion by 238% and terrestrial acidification by 72%.