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Which is greener? Biodegradable or 100% recycled?
Mike Lyons, Simpak Intl., Packaging Materials Supplier

We make a protective packaging pad. It consists of foam beads vacuum-packed in a plastic envelop. Right now our product is made of 100% recycled foam beads and can be reused. With its cushion curves, we can reduce the amount of packaging and provide equal or better protection. It can also be recycled again at end of life. My question is, from a corporate strategy perspective, which is greener? Product A—Made of biodegradable foam beads and packed in a biodegradable plastic envelope; or Product B—Made of 100% recycled foam and packed in a recycled plastic envelop. Simply put: Recycled or Biodegradable? See 10 responses to this question:

Does package weight trump LCA in sustainability considerations?
Jeff Plank, Packager

I’d be curious to hear opinions on the subject of Packaging Life-Cycle Analysis and its value—both in a business sense and academia perspectives. Are cradle-to-grave assessments of packaging systems beneficial (i.e., measuring greenhouse gases from the point of packaging raw material mining to energy required to assemble the package to disposal by end user in a landfill)? Or, can the same outcome of general knowledge on “sustainability” be just as adequately determined by simply boiling down to one variable: the weight of the package?
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