Posted on by Halo Themes

When choosing a package for the final product, especially food products, one needs to make sure that it will keep the
goods inside in good condition until the day of expiry.
Food waste is a very big problem for humanity and it shall not be forgotten while tackling with the ecological problems. Keeping this in mind we have different alternatives.

Tin Cans, glass jars, plastic canisters, plastic bottles, thermoform tubs are among the many alternatives the stand-up pouches.

There are many ideas floating around but the best approach is the life-cycle Assessment for the impact of packages on the Ecology.

Ecology is effected in many ways and each areas has to be evaluated separately.

Fossil Fuel Consumption, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Water Consumption and total landfilled are the most common fields of assessment for the environmental impact.

Another important aspect is to consider all life cycle of the package. Impact of raw material, manufacturing, transportation and end of life. Different stages may have different impacts.

Let’s have a look at all these fields for coffee beans.
Stand-up pouches with aluminum are one of the most common ways to pack coffee beans. Some people still chooses steel cans or HDPE canisters with evoh barrier.
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Coffee Packaging Evaluation Comparison

The sample packages are same volume packages and shelf life expectancy is as close as possible.

By looking at the table above one can easily see that Stand-up pouches are much lighter than its rivals.

Coffee package comparison – Fossil Fuel Consumption

Steel Can and HDPE Canister has a large consumption of fossil fuel during material and manufacturing. Energy used in material is correlated to the total weight of the package.
Stand-up pouch is much lighter and need less material, less material is produced with less fossil fuel energy. Also shaping a steel can or injecting a canister are energy intense processes whereas Stand-up pouches are made with print lamination and bag making which don’t consume high energy. Again transport of cans and canisters requires much more energy due to the volume and the weight of the packages.

Coffee package comparison – GHG Emissions

We see similar results when comparing the carbon emission results for different types of packages. Stand-up pouches produces much less CO2 gases compared to other types at every stage.
Main reason for this is Stand-up pouches with less weight requires less fossil fuel energy.

Coffee package comparison – Water consumption

A comparison of water consumption during the life cycle of the different package formats.

The steel can have a significantly higher water usage (sixteen times!!!) than the stand-up flexible pouch, particularly during the material development stage, as large amounts of water are used during the cooling process in the formation of steel.

While the HDPE plastic canister uses much less water than the steel can, it still has a consumption value over twice that of the stand-up flexible pouch. This is due to the use of cool water used during the injection molding process.

Coffee Packaging Format - Recycled and Landfilled Comparison

the following assumptions were made:
Steel contained 37% recycled content
Steel recycling rate 70.7%
LDPE lids recycling rate at 21%
HDPE Canister recycling rate at 34.4%
Flexible packaging was assumed to have 0% recycling rate
All material collected for recycling was assumed to be actually recycled
Packaging landfilled is amount of packaging not recycled, goes to municipal solid waste

The most preferred method for waste management is Source Reduction and Reuse. The stand-up flexible pouch format makes up to 96.1% of the total weight.
The steel can option yields 67% of product and plastic canister 83% of the total product weight.
Another consideration, is how much of a package is ultimately discarded. The steel can is one of most highly recycled materials at nearly 71%. Only corrugated boxes, at 89.5% are higher for consumer packaging.
However, even when assuming a 71% recycling rate, the steel can still results in about 4 times as much material as landfilled waste versus the stand-up flexible pouch.
This also assumes that zero flexible packaging is recovered. For the steel can system to have the same amount of landfilled material as the stand-up flexible pouch, the rate of recycling for the steel can would need to increase
to 93% and the LDPE lid would need to go from 21% to 75%!
The HDPE canister is recycled at a much lower rate of 34% compared to the steel can, has a net rate of landfilled material about 3.5 times as great as the stand-up flexible pouch. For the HDPE canister to have the same net discards as the flexible package, the recycling rate for the HDPE canister
would need to jump to 84% with a 70% recovery rate for the lid.
The examples above showcase, that while many flexibles materials are not yet
recovered and recycled in any significant amount, they still result in a substantial
reduction in the amount of material sent to landfill versus other
types of packaging.

Summary / Implications:

Stand up pouches by all means are eco-friendlier than the other
alternatives. All these tests were made with pouches which have 0 recycling
rates. Now the industry is working on the recyclable options. Soon the
recyclable pouches will be in the market and the benefits of Stand up pouches
will be even more.

Coffee Packaging Comparison Summary

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