Sustainable packaging: from eco-efficiency to eco-effectiveness

Monia Niero, Simon H. Boas, Stig Irving Olsen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


    According to Verghese et al (2012) sustainable packaging should be: effective in delivering its functional requirements, efficient in its use of materials, energy, and water throughout its life cycle, cyclic in its use of renewable materials and recoverability at end-of-life, and safe for people and the natural environment. Companies in the packaging sector have traditionally been using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology to fulfill these requirements. However, being inspired by the eco-efficiency principle, LCA aims to reduce the negative environmental footprint of human activities by optimizing product systemindividually, without considering multiple future uses of resources in continuous loops.A broader approach oriented towards product quality and innovation is the Cradle to Cradle® (C2C) design framework. C2C aims to increase the positive footprint of products by designing “eco-effective” solutions,i.e. maximizing the benefit to ecological systems. C2C is based on three key principles “waste equal food”,“use solar energy income” and “celebrate diversity” (McDonough and Braungart, 2002). The first principlecalls for eliminating the concept of waste by designing systems where waste and emissions can be taken up as nutrients by other processes instead of reducing the amount of waste as eco-efficiency advocates. From a company point of view, LCA and C2C are complementary approaches to develop sustainable andinnovative solutions for packaging, see Figure 1. We will illustrate the challenges and opportunities emerging from the case study of Carlsberg Circular Community, a cooperation platform where Carlsberg ( and some global partners are joining forces to reduce the reliance on raw materials, involving consumers and customers, and creating new types of cooperation among partners to generate resource effective products.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAbstract Book - DTU Sustain Conference 2014
    Number of pages1
    Place of PublicationKgs. Lyngby
    PublisherTechnical University of Denmark
    Publication date2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventDTU Sustain Conference 2014 - Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
    Duration: 17 Dec 201417 Dec 2014


    ConferenceDTU Sustain Conference 2014
    LocationTechnical University of Denmark
    Internet address


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