Under the EU Single Use Plastic (SUP) directive, by 2026 member states are obliged to have substantially reduced use of plastic cups and food packaging compared with 2022 levels. A list of policy proposals to this end must be submitted to the European Commission by July 2021. Approaching the issue from a circular economy perspective, the Dutch government is to encourage a shift to multiple use and mitigate any negative effects of such a shift.
One policy idea is to use price incentives to reduce the volume of various forms of plastic packaging. The question is then whether alternative, non-plastic packaging might have a significantly bigger environmental footprint, owing, among other things, to increased food wastage.
This study explores four case studies, analysing the differences in projected environmental footprint between plastic and alternative packaging options and assessing the footprint of any additional food wastage. To this end, the LCA methodology was employed to assess the full spectrum of environmental impacts from cradle to grave.
The following four cases studies were considered: