A first-of-its-kind lifecycle analysis conducted by Germany's Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU) has found that clamshell packaging made from Ingeo™, a unique plant-derived biopolymer manufactured by NatureWorks, emits fewer greenhouse gases and uses less energy when compared to clamshells manufactured with petroleum-based rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate). IFEU (www.ifeu.de) conducted the head-to-head lifecycle comparison on more than 40 different combinations of clamshell packaging made from Ingeo™ natural plastic, PET, and rPET. Both Ingeo™ and rPET clamshells outperformed PET packaging in terms of lower overall greenhouse gas emissions and lower overall energy consumed. Ingeo™ clamshells clearly offered further advantages over the petroleum-based rPET in numerous comparisons.
The study showed that clamshell packaging consisting of 100 percent rPET emitted 62.7 kilograms of CO2 equivalents per 1,000 clamshells over its complete life cycle. Ingeo™ clamshells emitted even less, with 61.7 kilograms CO2 equivalents per 1,000 clamshells. The Ingeo™ make clamshell was lighter, yet functionally equivalent in terms of top-load strength. Energy consumed over the lifecycle for 100% rPET clamshells was 0.88 gigajoules compared to 0.72 gigajoules consumed by the lighter, yet functionally equivalent, Ingeo™ 2005 packaging - an overall 18 percent reduction in energy consumed. "Brand owners and converters will lower the carbon and energy footprint of clamshell packaging by moving away from PET and rPET to Ingeo™ polymer," said Marc Verbruggen, president and CEO of NatureWorks, the manufacturer of Ingeo™