Since 1997, the tonnage of household packaging has been evolving due to different considerations: demography, household size, modifications of consumption patterns or features of packaging.
To evaluate these changes, the CNE, the ADEME and Eco-Emballages conduct every three years a study measuring the deposit of the household packaging of ten mass consumption markets which represent about 25% of total deposit household packaging.
This study takes stock on developments of household packaging between 1997 and 2009 of the eight markets studied in previous editions, as well as two new markets between 2006 and 2009 (pre-sliced/pre-packaged charcuterie and shower gels/shampoo). The implemented method allows highlighting the factors that cause the evolution and, for each factor, to quantify their contributions to this modification. The identified parameters influencing the deposit can be grouped in two categories:
- The “consumption effect” is driven by the population trend (growth in population) and by the changes of individual consumption habits.
- The effect linked to packaging is divided in three parts: the “unit weight effect” is defined by the change in weight of the packaging for a given capacity, without material change; the “capacity effect” outlines the evolution of the amount of packaging per amount of product (for example: passing from the 1.5l bottle to the 2l one) or the modification of the product characteristics (for example: concentration or lyophilization of the product) and finally the “material effect” lists, for a given capacity, the substitutions of one material with another.
In addition, a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) evaluates the development of resulting environmental impacts.
Between 1997 and 2009, a decrease in the tonnage of nearly 20% is observed (about 300 000 tons):
As an explanation, the “material change effect” appears as the dominant effect of this reduction. The evolution of countenances also plays an important role while changes of unit weight appear to be less significant. Besides the study points out a delinking between consumption (+1%) and the quantity of packaging wastes (-22%).
Between 1997 and 2009, this tonnage decline coupled with increased recycling reduces the environmental impacts between 9% and 21%.
Other lessons are presented in the study. In particular, it is shown that the unit weight reduction at source allows a reduction of environmental impacts, but margins of progress can still be reached depending on the markets surveyed.
We also learn that even though the substitution of one material by another (“material effect”) has resulted in significant decrease, it affects randomly the environmental impacts, and it strongly depends on the characteristics of the considered packaging.
Thus these main lessons have to be compared with the specific lessons for each surveyed markets which details are available in the full study.
The full study is available (in french) on Eco-Emballages website:
and also available on CNE website: