A new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study, conducted by leading environmental consultancy Ramboll for the European Paper Packaging Alliance (EPPA), demonstrates the significant benefits of single-use fibre based products compared to re-use systems particularly in saving carbon emission and freshwater consumption.

The LCA compares the environmental impact of paper-based single use packaging with the footprint of reusable tableware in Quick Service Restaurants across Europe. The study takes into account a range of 24 different food and beverage containers in Quick Service Restaurants including cold/hot cups, salad bowls with lids, wraps/plates/clamshells/covers, ice cream cups, cutlery sets, fries basket/carton.

According to the study, the polypropylene-based multi-use system is responsible for generating over 2.5 times more CO2 emissions and using 3.6 times more freshwater than the paper-based single-use system. The main reason for this is that multi-use tableware requires significant amounts of energy and water to be washed, sanitised and dried.