A life cycle design demonstration project was initiated between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - National Risk Management Research Laboratory, Dow Chemical Company, and the University of Michigan to investigate milk and juice packaging design. The primary objective of this project was to develop design metrics and guidelines for environmental improvement of milk and juice packaging systems. Both refillable and single use systems including polycarbonate, HDPE and glass bottles; gable top and aseptic cartons; steel and composite cans; as well as flexible pouches were studied using previously published life cycle inventory data. Material production energy accounted for a large portion of the total life cycle energy for these systems. Conversely, post-consumer waste was responsible for a majority of their life cycle solid waste generation. Packaging systems were also evaluated with respect to key performance criteria, life cycle costs, and regulatory trends at the local, state and national levels. Environmentally preferable containers were identified, and tradeoffs and correlations between design criteria were highlighted.
This report was submitted in partial fulfillment of Cooperative Agreement number CR822998-01-0 by the National Pollution Prevention Center at the University of Michigan under the sponsorship of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This work covers a period from November 1, 1994 to August 30, 1996 and was completed as of September, 1996.
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