4.1.5 Comparing Different Options

Course subject(s) Module 4. Reuse of packaging

How can you determine which circular strategy to choose? When does reusing packaging make environmental sense? One way to find out is to perform a so called ‘life cycle assessment’. In the video below, Bas Flipsen demonstrates how an LCA can help you to make a more informed choice about your packaging and the (circular) system in which it is applied.

In this video the following pictures are used:
The image of the product life cycle is adapted from Circular economy business template vectors 07 by Starder, published rights free.
The image of the bottles in a store is called Aisle Beverages Bottles by Fancycrave.com, published under Pexels license.
The image of discarded plastic bottles is called Bottles Container Daylight by Mali Maeder, published under Pexels license.
The image of the child filling a bottle is called Water Bottle Filling Station by Michael Quinn, published under CC BY 2.0 license.
The image of the apple is adapted from Grön Apple by Julenka, published under CC0 license.
The image of the orange is adapted from Orange by L Cwojdzinski, published under CC0 license.
The image of the water bottle comes from PNGimg.com and is published under CC BY-NC 4.0 license.


  • In an LCA the environmental impact of all stages in a product’s life cycle (sourcing, production, transport, use, disposal) are calculated.
  • To compare two or more products (or packaging items) that fulfill the same function in a different way, a Functional Unit must be defined. This is the goal that must be reached with use of the packaging alternatives.
  • The next step is to create a Use Scenario for each alternative that leads to the achievement of this goal. This helps to find all the aspects that contribute to the total impact of the packaging on the environment over its life cycle.
  • System Boundaries are defined to limit the scope of the analysis. You have to consider to what extent something will impact the outcome of the analysis and how much effort it will take to incorporate it in the calculations.
Creative Commons License
Sustainable Packaging in a Circular Economy by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://online-learning.tudelft.nl/courses/sustainable-packaging-in-a-circular-economy/.
Back to top