Antimicrobial coatings are being increasingly used as a means to extend the shelf life of food products. This extension helps consumers cut down on the food waste generated at household level, while at the same time reducing the impact, which these products' life cycle has on the environment. The aim of this Life Cycle Assessment study is thus to assess the consequences on the environment arising from the application of an antimicrobial coating onto the packaging of a fresh milk product, while also taking into account the reduction in milk waste. The antimicrobial coating considered is a synthetic derivative of lauric acid. The application of the coating involves additional environmental impacts caused by all the inputs and outputs which occur during its life cycle. At the same time, however, the use of this coating allows to extend the fresh milk's shelf life with a consequent reduction in food waste. The data related to the production and application of the coating were provided by the packaging laboratory of the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (Valencia) and by manufacturing companies. The data related to food waste, milk processing, refrigeration transports, storage, and end of life of both product and packaging were obtained from previous studies, institutional reports and Ecoinvent database v2.2. The Midpoint Impact 2002 method was used to assess impacts. The results show how the reduction in milk waste achievable by using the coating generates higher environmental benefits than the impacts caused by the coating's life cycle due to milk saving. Furthermore this study demonstrates the importance of including food waste in Life Cycle Assessment studies of packaging systems. The connection between packaging design and food waste is a decisive aspect in the evaluation of actual environmental sustainability and should thus be considered in all assessments of packaging solutions. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
|Titolo:||Environmental assessment of antimicrobial coatings for packaged fresh milk|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|