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UNIVERSITY OF PARMA: THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF OUR PACKAGING

How important is the reduction of environmental impact? For us, this is an important priority that we have been cultivating for several years using only recyclable materials, because it is an integrated part of our sustainability strategy in every dimension: social, economic and environmental.For this reason, we commissioned the University of Parma to conduct a scientific study to assess the environmental impact of the materials we use to produce our feminine hygiene diaper packaging. Here, in a nutshell, are the results of the research.

The Life Cycle Assessment methodology (ISO 14040 and 14044 reference standards) was used to conduct the analysis, i.e., the entire life cycle of packaging, “from cradle to grave.”
Four different types of materials were examined:

  • R-LDPE
  • LDPE
  • Corn-based biopolymer
  • PLA+PBAT-Based Biopolymer

Five parameters were evaluated for each:

  1. Extraction, production and transportation of raw materials
  2. Auxiliary materials for the transportation of raw materials
  3. Packaging production
  4. Materials for shipment to customers
  5. Final disposal of materials
    calculating their impact on the greenhouse effect, water consumption, depletion of fossil sources and natural elements, ozone depletion, acidification and eutrophication.

RESULTS
Electricity consumption during the extrusion phase is among the main sources of impact on all environmental categories examined. Imbalplast, with the recent installation of photovoltaic panels, has significantly reduced consumption and, consequently, environmental impact. The other most impactful phase in the life cycle is the processes required for the extraction and production of raw materials, including processing waste and transportation. In contrast, incoming and outgoing auxiliary materials, as well as disposal of end-of-life packaging, do not constitute a high impact. Finally, contrary to what one might have imagined, plastic packaging, and R-LDPE in particular, has a very low impact, thanks in part to the savings of virgin material. Similar results were obtained for all parameters considered.