Things I’ve Worked On: LCA of Take-out Containers in Ann Arbor

The purpose of this project, which was done on behalf of the start-up Go Blue Box, was to perform a life cycle assessment of two kinds of containers used for take-out services at the University of Michigan Union, sugarcane-based (bagasse) compostable boxes and reusable polypropylene-based boxes (such as those created by Go Blue Box). We assumed a functional unit of 360 uses, which represented the life of 1.01 Go Blue Boxes (accounting for a 1% breakage rate) and 360 compostable boxes. After comparing energy consumption, water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and costs, it was overwhelmingly clear that the reusable Go Blue Boxes are the better option. Taking both the environmental and financial aspects of our analysis into account, our recommendation is that the University of Michigan Union expand the Go Blue Box program and continue to grow its use as the take-out container of choice.

Go Blue Box vs. Compostable Boxes

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