A Multicriteria System Useful for Evaluating the Eco-performances of Food Packaging Connected to the Functional, Communicative and Design Criteria
Published: 05 November 2012 by MDPI in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Environmental Sustainability
Abstract: The paper is aimed at illustrating a multidisciplinary research, which is funded by the Piedmont Region and involves several research units belonging to different institutions. Within this project, the Research Unit of Industrial Design of DAD (Department of Architecture and Design, Politecnico di Torino) is carried out with the aim of outlining a multicriteria methodology for assessing the level of sustainability of food packaging. Usually packaging sustainability is evaluated by taking into account mainly environmental criteria, with very well-known indicators, such as Carbon Footprint, Embodied Energy, percentage of recycled materials and by forgetting others important aspects, such as functional, communicative and design (Shape, Colours, Material) criteria that have to be satisfy by a food packaging. On these assumptions, the research has been started with the analysis of three case studies: chocolate, alcoholic beverages, meat, representative of the principal agri-food chains in the Piedmont region, in order to identify the evaluation criteria on which outlines the POLIEDRO evaluation system of the packaging. The approach is based on several analysis according to the above mentioned four dimensions of packaging. The assessments are quantitative, such as Carbon Footprint, and qualitative referring to the degree of fulfilment of the various functional and communicative requirements. Moreover the specific analysis of Design is performed by/for assessing the innovation of packaging design. The final result is a set of indicators that shows the packaging sustainability linked to the other criteria in order to highlight mutual relations, e.g. how the improved environmental performance could negatively affect functionality, or how the design innovation could affect sustainability. As a result it will be possible to define a multi-criteria evaluation system, useful not only for assessing the functional, communicative, environmental and design criteria, but also for identifing the weakness of the food packaging that should be improve with a new design.
Keywords: Packaging, Ecodesign, Multicriteria Analysis