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Ex-ante life cycle assessment of a partially reusable packaging system for dry-cured ham slices

Abstract : To limit the huge damage caused by plastic pollution, major changes need to be made in the food and beverage packaging sector. In this context, a new packaging system for dry-cured ham slices, containing natural antioxidants, was developed; it consists of a reusable polymer tray sealed with disposable polymer film. The life cycle of the packaging was assessed to compare its environmental impacts with a reference disposable packaging system already in use. The life cycle assessment was performed in accordance with the ISO 14040-14044 series; the system was model using the Gabi software and the ILCD PEF method was used to evaluate the impacts. The functional unit chosen was to pack 1000 batches of 4 slices of dry-cured ham in France. Three packaging scenarios were compared: a reference disposable packaging system, incinerated at end of life; the partially reusable packaging, recycled at end of life and the same partially reusable packaging, incinerated at end of life. The study of the relative impacts of each scenario revealed that for the reference packaging, the production of the tray was the highest-impact stage. With the reusable packaging, the highest-impact stages were the thermosealing process and the production of the trays and films. A significant reduction in all impacts was observed with the use of the reusable packaging. Sensitivity analysis was carried out to study the influence of the breakage rate of the tray during reuse and the number of reuse cycles of the tray. Except for freshwater resource depletion, the reusable packaging had lower environmental impacts even with a high tray breakage rate or a low number of reuses. This paper demonstrates the interest of this reusable and recyclable food contact packaging to lower the environmental footprint of packaging; the reuse and recycling stages now need to be tested in real situations for the packaging prototype to confirm the feasibility of the reuse process.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, August 17, 2022 - 2:56:40 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 24, 2022 - 3:04:12 AM


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J. Beigbeder, Ahmed Allal, Nathalie Robert. Ex-ante life cycle assessment of a partially reusable packaging system for dry-cured ham slices. Clean Technologies and Recycling, AIMS Press, 2022, 2 (3), pp.119-135. ⟨10.3934/ctr.2022007⟩. ⟨hal-03752870⟩



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