Plastics Are the Sustainable Choice

Life cycle assessments are the scientific study of evaluating the environmental impacts of a material from its sourcing to its management after use. Through this important research, we can better understand which materials can help Canada reach its climate goals while also offering consumers the best possible options.

What is a Life Cycle Assessment?


Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) enable us to evaluate the potential environmental impact of any given product at stages throughout its entire life cycle. This includes production, distribution, use, and disposal and incorporates impacts, environmental and otherwise, of every step of the process. 

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Life Cycle Assessments allow us to compare the environmental impacts of products to gain insights into how we can best reach climate goals with currently available materials.

LCAs show that plastics are the best option to support Canada’s robust environmental goals


When used in consumer goods and packaging, plastic’s environmental footprint is four times smaller than that of alternative materials. Because plastics help us do more with less, they provide countless benefits for our environment and for consumers. 

 

As we work to reduce the amount of plastic waste in our lives, the use of alternative material options has increased. It’s important to consider the full life cycle of these items—and the impact they have on our environment. This means considering the greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and other impacts different materials make during production and transportation. When we look at all these factors, plastics are among the most sustainable choices.

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Plastic Packaging

 

Replacing plastic in consumer products and packaging with alternatives would have nearly four times the negative environmental impact on a full life cycle basis”

Study by the American Chemistry Council and TruCost

“Plastic packaging has a greater environmental benefit than other packaging materials in both Canada and the United States”

Study by the Easter Research Group and the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council

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Environmental Advantages

 

“Plastic generally has greater environmental advantages than alternative single-use materials or reusable products” 

Study by the University of Michigan

“Plastic materials have environmental and economic advantages over conventional materials due to life cycle performance”

Study by researchers at the Minho University, Portugal

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Emissions Reductions

 

“The standard single-use plastic straw has lower energy demand and global warming potential compared to paper and compostable straws"

Study by the Michigan Technological University

“If all plastic bottles used globally were replaced with glass, the additional resulting CO2 emissions would be equivalent to adding about 22 large coal-fired power plants”

Study by the Imperial College of London

“Replacing plastic food packaging with alternatives would increase CO2 emissions by 3% and double energy use”

Study by the Imperial College of London