Ferrero conducted a life cycle analysis (LCA) of Hummingbird's packaging materials to quantify environmental impacts and identify sustainable alternatives that reduce environmental impact while still meeting food storage, handling, aesthetic, and food safety criteria. To perform an LCA of current packaging, Ferrero first created an inventory of Hummingbird’s existing packaging products: Elkay plastic 5 lb bag, ULINE plastic 10 lb bag, and Pak-Sel Cello 1 lb bag (cellophane bag). The inventory included material makeup, manufacturing processes, transportation methods and distances, intended use of the product, disposal methods, and costs. The intern then used Sustainable Minds LCA software to compare ecosystem and human health impacts.
For comparison, the intern also conducted an LCA of alternative packaging material including glass, polylactic acid (i.e., biodegradable 'bioplastic' derived from plant matter such as cornstarch), organic compound plastics (i.e., biodegradable petroleum-based plastics treated with organic compounds), combination Kraft paper (i.e., recyclable and biodegradable paper or cardboard made from chemically-treated wood pulp), and post-consumer (i.e., recycled) plastic.