First Faculty Advisor
Second Faculty Advisor
LCA; landfill; paper; plastic; environmental impact
This research focuses on the effects plastic, paper, and textile grocery bags have on our environment. This project aims to answer two questions: Based on an LCA approach of the disposal stage, which is better for the environment: plastic or paper? Which type of grocery bag, paper or plastic has a higher sustainability potential based on end of life data? LCA software and assessment tools identified the risks paper, plastic, and textile waste has on the environment the disposal stage. OpenLCA was used as a platform to compile the life cycle data. To obtain the data needed, the European reference Life Cycle Database (ELCD) was used for raw data collection while the ReCiPie – Endpoint HA impact assessment method was used to analyze the results. The results indicate that despite common beliefs and the original hypothesis that stated paper and textile bags were better for the environment, paper, plastic, and textile waste have very similar impacts on the environment when disposed in a landfill. However, this analysis only looks at the disposal stage of paper, plastic, and textile waste. Therefore, these same conclusions about the effects each product have on the environment throughout their entire life cycle (e.g. during raw material extraction, production, and transportation stages) may not hold true.