Understanding Environmental Performance through Life Cycle Studies

All manufacturing processes have both inputs and outputs. A life cycle inventory (LCI) involves the collection and quantification of inputs and outputs for a given product system throughout its full life cycle. Life cycle studies typically examine criteria like energy use, emissions, and waste generation over the course of raw materials extraction, manufacturing, transportation, use, and end of life management (e.g., recycling or disposal).

A life cycle approach to evaluating environmental impacts helps manufacturers understand how their choices influence what happens at each stage of a product’s life so they can make informed decisions that can help reduce overall burdens to the environment. In this regard, LCI studies are an essential source of information for government, scientists, manufacturers and retailers. 

The American Chemistry Council strongly supports the use of life cycle approaches for assessing environmental performance, evaluating trade-offs, and making informed decisions. ACC’s Plastics Division has sponsored several important life cycle studies, which can be accessed below.


Impact of Packaging on Life Cycle, Energy Consumption & Greenhouse

This study looks at six major categories of plastic packaging that help to significantly reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions compared to packaging alternatives made with other materials.


Plastics Can Help Improve a Package's Environmental Performance

Many types of plastic packaging help reduce packaging weight. energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Check out our lifecycle infographic.

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Plastics Statistics

The Plastics Industry Producers Statistics Group (PIPS) provides relevant, timely, comprehensive and extensive business statistics on the plastic resins industry.