Life Cycle Impacts of Plastic Packaging Compared to Substitutes in the United States and Canada: Theoretical Substitution Analysis 

Packaging is an important focus today as businesses and other organizations strive to create the most efficient environmental “footprint” for their products. Figure ES–1 shows thermoplastic resin demand in North American packaging versus non-packaging markets from 2007 to 2011. Packaging uses account for over a third of sales and captive use of thermoplastic resins.4 The packaging categories analyzed in this study are estimated to capture 95-99 percent of plastic use in North American packaging.5 Relative to other packaging materials such as steel, aluminum, glass, paper, etc., plastic-based packaging is 39 to 100 percent of total North American market demand for packaging categories analyzed in this study.

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