New study shows EcoCore reusables cut carbon by 20 – 30% after just 2 uses
Updated: Oct 16, 2020
Analysis carried out by The LCA Centre in the Netherlands has shown that reusable cups made with Bockatech EcoCore significantly reduce major environmental impacts such as Global Warming Potential (GWP) after as few as 2 uses.
The extensive Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) covered a comprehensive range of environmental impacts for several popular reuse scenarios including:
Closed loop — where clean cups are delivered to a food service provider and used cups are taken away as well as washed using a commercial conveyor dishwasher.
Wash at venue — where cups are owned and washed (using single tank dish and glass washers) by a food service provider on site.
Bring your own — where customers buy, wash (using a domestic dishwasher) and return with cups.
The studies compared a 430 ml capacity, 19 gram, EcoCore® Zero Waste Cup™ to both popular single and reusable alternatives including:
Single-use cups — polyethylene (PE) and polylactic acid (PLA) compostable lined dual wall paper.
Reusable cups — polypropylene (PP) Starbucks solid wall low cost reusable, EcoCup, Stojo cup, beer glass and a ceramic mug.
Reduction in environmental impact
Against popular single-use dual wall lined PE and PLA compostable paper cups, reusables made with EcoCore show a 20 – 30% reduction in CO2 eq after just two uses. After 30 uses the reduction in CO2 eq increased to 80 – 85%.
Using a reusable Zero Waste Cup twice also halves the risk of containers polluting land and sea environments as litter. Using a cup thirty times reduces the risk by 1/30th.
Taking into account three key environmental factors — Global Warming Potential (GWP), Cumulative Energy Demand (CED) and Water Resource — reusable cups made with EcoCore were found to be 'least impactful overall'. This study included both reusables (inc. EcoCup, Starbucks solid wall low cost reusable, ceramic mugs and glasses) and single-use (inc. PP, PET and Paper) cups.
Additionally, in a broad scope ReCiPe study covering 18 environmental impacts, EcoCore cups also were found to have the lowest impact.
Significant implications for to-go packaging
Talking about the opportunity that reuse presents as a way to increase sustainability Dr Alan Campbell, Technical Director at The LCA Centre, said: “It makes no environmental sense to make and destroy 30 single-use cups when one reusable will do their job and this opinion was fully backed up by the LCA study.”
Previous studies have shown that reusable cups made from plastic and other materials typically require twenty or more uses before they start to have a positive impact.
Commenting on the low number of reuses required before EcoCore cups reduce environmental impacts Chris Bocking, a Bockatech founder, said: "Experience with reusable shopping bags has shown that low cost reusables used fewer times are most popular with consumers.
"However, for reusables to be more sustainable they must be less damaging to the environment than single-use alternatives.
"A reduction in CO2 eq of 20 – 30% after just two uses, with a cost similar to dual wall paper cups, makes convenient reuse a reality for to-go cups."
Compared to traditional ceramic and glass reusables, as well as popular low cost alternatives like the EcoCup and Starbucks solid wall cup, EcoCore containers were also found to have a lower environmental impact.
"Customers often don't know how many times they need to use a cup before it benefits the planet, having a much lower impact reduces the risk of cups being thrown away too soon and causing more global warming potential for example," said Bocking.
Commenting on the wider implications for to-go cups and other food service packaging Henri Gaskjenn, CEO at Bockatech, said: "EcoCore is creating the opportunity for to-go food service providers to use reusables in place of single-use containers with no economic penalty and substantial reductions in environmental impact.
"We believe this will allow reusable to-go food service packaging to enter the mainstream at scale."