Assessing Climate Impact: Reusable Systems Vs Single-use Takeaway Packaging

5th September 2023

by Michael Kirk-Smith, Andy Grant, Simon Hann

This study involved modelling to measure the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from reusable takeaway packaging compared to single-use equivalents.

The results indicate that, for most types of takeaway packaging used in Europe, reuse through a safe, efficient system for collection, washing, inspection, and redistribution has potential to yield greater environmental benefits than recycling or discarding single-use containers. The study also highlights key aspects to optimise in designing and operating reuse systems.

The scope of the study envisions a scenario in 2030, reflecting a near-future setting. By then, it is possible that reusable packaging systems will have reached steady-state and electrified transport and decarbonised electricity grids will be more prevalent, aligning with international targets. This time frame was chosen to emphasise the relevance of understanding future impacts rather than current ones.

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