Zotefoams, a company known for foam solutions, has published results from the recently commissioned life cycle analysis for the Rezorce mono-material carton packaging, which is designed as circular packaging: Compared to conventional carton packaging, it has a 50% lower global warming potential.
The Rezorce closed-cycle packaging for beverage cartons consists of fully recyclable monomaterial, the barrier properties of which meet or exceed all standards of the food industry. This makes Rezorce an alternative to barrier packaging made of composite materials. In the independent life cycle analysis, a comparison was made between three types of Rezorce packaging, each with different proportions of recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) on the one hand, and conventional multi-material cardboard packaging for liquid food on the other. As it turned out, Rezorce cartons perform at least as well as conventional beverage cartons in terms of functionality and aesthetics.
Significantly lower water consumption
Compared to conventional carton packaging for liquid food, the energy consumption in manufacturing, filling and transporting Rezorce cartons is 5 times lower. Production requires 11 times less water and the global warming potential – assuming recycling – is 50% lower.
The monomaterial solution is based on a proprietary microcellular foaming process. Foam layers alternate with solid layers, so that optimal barrier properties are created and the foldability does not lag behind that of conventional beverage cartons. Rezorce can be recycled from the waste streams and can also (if food-grade recycled polymer is available) made from up to 100% recycled components.
About the investigation
Zotefoams commissioned the LCA Center to conduct a test with its independent experts for technical life cycle analyzes of packaging: The environmental impact of Rezorce was to be compared with the environmental impact of the multi-material carton packaging for liquid food currently on the market. Three types of Rezorce cardboard packaging made from high density expanded foam Polyethylene (with a recycled content of 12.5%, 25% and 50% respectively) were evaluated, as well as cardboard packaging for liquid food with layers of cardboard (72.5%), polyethylene (24%) and aluminum foil (3.5%) . The cardboard packaging each had a capacity for 1 liter of apple juice.
The key elements for the life cycle analysis were the global warming potential (in kgCO 2 -eq, carbon dioxide equivalent), the water consumption (in m3) and the cumulative energy expenditure (in MJ-eq, megajoule equivalent) in four different scenarios from the cradle to the factory gate ( cradle-to-gate) as well as in the last phase of the life cycle (with waste incineration, recycling or a mixture of these). As a result, Rezorce always had a lower global warming potential – except in the scenario with both packaging incinerated.
Dr. Alan Campbell, Technical Director at The LCA Center, explains: “The recycled Rezorce container is potentially more environmentally friendly because the global warming potential is lower than with other packaging options.”
The data from the life cycle analysis were also peer-reviewed by Dr. Leigh Holloway of environmental and innovation consultancy Eco 3 Ltd. Through his collaboration with the IFEU Institute in Germany, Dr. Holloway has participated in numerous peer reviews of carton packaging products for liquid foods. Among other things, the focus was on the products of a leading manufacturer of (aseptic) multi-material cardboard boxes.
Neil Court-Johnston, Vice President of Strategy EMEA at Zotefoams, commented: “We are very pleased to present the results of our recent lifecycle analysis because the numbers speak for themselves clear language. At Zotefoams we are having an exciting time with Rezorce – we have invested a million US dollars in a pilot plant in the USA. Branded companies and retail companies are given the opportunity to carry out tests in a fast-track process and to implement the platform technology before the upcoming statutory deadlines.”