CIRAIG (International Reference Center for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services) conducted a study on the environmental impact of packaging products in the food industry. Seven food trays (made of seven different materials) were part of the study: #1 plastic (PET), recycled #1 plastic (RPET), #5 plastic (PP), #6 oriented plastic (OPS), #6 expanded plastic (EPS), #7 plastic (PLA) and moulded-pulp used for egg packaging (MP).
The study compiled every step of the manufacturing processes, their impact on human health and on the environment.
#6 expanded plastic, also known as polystyrene or “Styrofoam”, ranked in the second position, behind moulded-pulp (MP). This study demonstrated that polystyrene is one of the least harmful packaging materials.
The most harmful material, considering the products lifecycles, is #7 plastic (PLA), also known as “compostable dishware”.
For more information on CIRAIG, visit http://www.ciraig.org/en/
For more information on the products used for the purpose of this study, visit https://www.cascades.com/en/sustainable-development/commitment/responsibility-on-products-and-services/
IN CASE OF FIRE
1. Like any other construction materials (wood, wool, paper, etc.), EPS burns and emits energy, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water vapour, and soot, but no other gases.
2. Black smoke emitted by EPS combustion is less harmful than smoke coming from organic materials.
3. This smoke is less toxic than the one emitted by burning fir tree, pressed wood or expanded cork.
* Study by AFIPEB and Center for Fire Safety.
EPS VS CARDBOARD PACKAGING
1. EPS manufacturing requires six times less energy than cardboard.
2. Critical air volume shows lower air pollution for EPS.
3. To reach the same water pollution level as cardboard, twenty times more EPS would have to be produced.
4. Global warming potential (GWP) is lower for EPS than cardboard.
5. Landfill volume used by EPS is higher than cardboard, but recycling technologies keep reducing this statistic.
* Study by BASF
1. EPS influence on the ozone layer is insignificant
2. Impacts from EPS packaging transport are minimal.
3. In television packaging, cardboard is responsible for:
94% of water eutrophication (pollution by nutrients)
74% of waste production
51% of water consumption
* EUMEPS packaging – May 2002
EPS AND ENVIRONMENT
1. Approximately 0.2% of oil in Europe is required for polystyrene production. The use of EPS saves more oil than the quantity it requires for its manufacturing.
2. 40% to 50% of goods are packaged with plastics, but this only represents 10% of the total weight of all packaging types.
3. EPS can be recycled up to twenty times without going through any physical properties degradation.
4. EPS meat packaging’s weight is three times inferior to moulded-pulp.
Source: PACKSCOPE NO.30. February 2007
Polyform has all required LEED® documentation and can assist in a LEED® certification project. All of our insulation boards were part of this study validated by Vertima.