Eco-design tool to support the use of renewable polymers within packaging applications

Bioplastics derived from renewable polymers such as sugars, starches and cellulose, have attracted significant interest from companies looking to reduce their environmental footprint. New production capacity and improved materials have resulted in their increasing adoption for mainstream consumer products packaging. However questions remain regarding their overall environmental benefits and how the maximum environmental gain can be achieved. These uncertainties highlight the need for a decision support tool to aid the packaging design process. This paper examines the issues surrounding bio-derived polymer use and discusses the development of an eco-design tool to assist in their rapid and efficient adoption.