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Plastics and Packaging

We are on the mission to accelerate sustainable circular packaging solutions to extend the lifetime of products, reducing emissions and minimizing the demand for virgin materials. 

Material management including the extraction, refining, transportation and processing of raw materials, accounts for 67% of total GHG emissions (Circular Economy, 2019). Specifically, the global consumption of plastics has increased sharply from 2 Mt in 1950 to 348 Mt in 2017 (CIEL, 2019; Plastics Europe, 2018). The production requires finite resources where more than 90% of plastics are fossil fuel-based, accounting for almost 6% of the global oil demand and expected to rise to 20% by 2050 (World Economic Forum, 2016).

Additionally, today's convenience and throwaway culture cause most packaging to be incinerated, landfilled or recycled after only a single-use. 


Our Projects

Supporting the demonstration and scale up of ASASE’s first recycling plant by understanding the business case, scouting for new recyclate applications, and developing an environmental assessment.

Status: Complete

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Plastic Recycling in Ghana
Supporting the CEFLEX Flexible Packaging Consortium

Understanding the technical and organizational barriers to re-organize the value chain towards a ciruclar economy for flexible packaging. 


Status: Complete 

Polymers in Solution
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Identifying risks and business opportunities of the growing awareness of the risk of polymers in the environment beyond packaging.

Status: Complete 

Phase 0: Concept for an Innovation Center for Sustainable Retail
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Developing a concept to implement and accelerate sustainable retail practices through cross value chain collaboration.




Status: Complete 

Phase 1: Developing a
Packaging Baseline

From intuition to hard data in collaboration with the Swiss retailer DENNER AG and Prof. Hellweg's Chair for Ecological Systems Design.

Status: Complete

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Phase 2: Identify
innovation potential 

Support decision making based on data from the packaging baseline to identify the biggest innovation potentials.

Status: Complete

Phase 3: Optimise and test innovations to reduce impact

Reducing the impact of packaging, through testing, iterating and implementing innovation and optimization projects in collaboration with the Swiss retailer DENNER AG.

Status: Complete

Quick Downloads

ICSR Final Report
CEFLEX Final Report

News and Links 

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Packaging database for fact-checking sustainability promises

ETHZ News - 07.01.2021

ETH researchers have created a database of over 3,000 primary and secondary packaging items from the range of the retailer Denner as a basis for ensuring more environmentally friendly packaging.

Read More.

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Packaging Baseline to identify optimisation potential

Denner's Sustainability Report - 2019

In Spring 2019, Denner and sus.lab decided to join forces and develop the first packaging baseline to quantify the yearly packaging produced by each product category, by material type. 

Read More (pages 29-31)

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First results of the Packaging Baseline

Denner's Sustainability Report - 2020

Almost 50'000 tonnes of primary and secondary packaging is produced yearly through Denners standard portfolio, of which approximately 15'000 tonnes come from Denner's own brand. 

Read More (pages 14-22)

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