Environmental impacts of disposable cups with special focus on the effect of material choices and end of life

Tarja Häkkinen (Corresponding Author), Sirje Vares

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    37 Citations (Scopus)


    Life cycle thinking is emphasised in EU policies and legislation. All products have environmental impacts during their production, use and disposal. It is important to ensure that environmental impacts are considered throughout the life-cycle and it will be more and more important for the industry to understand the meaning of the life cycle thinking and to adopt it.

    The environmental impacts of an industrial disposable cup concept were studied with help of life-cycle assessment method. The objective of the study was to create new knowledge about the life cycle effects of the carton based cup concept. The scope of the study was to compare the effects of material choices and different end-of-life scenarios. The paper focuses on the global warming potential of the cup concept. The carton based products were covered either with polyethene or polylactide. In addition, the environmental impacts of the carton-based cups were compared to the estimated environmental impacts of polymer-based cups. The polymer based cups were made of polyethylene terephthalate. The paper shows that significant improvements can be achieved with help of the choice of materials and optimal end of life.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1458-1463
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
    Issue number14
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Disposable cups
    • end of life
    • global warming potential
    • LCA
    • material choice


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