The objective of this discussion paper is to draw attention to some of the challenges associated with Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) that compare reusable packaging with single-use options, specifically focusing on the demanding take-away sector, which presents unique complexities for implementing reuse practices.

By comparing two recent studies commissioned by the European Paper Packaging Alliance (EPPA) and McDonald’s—both of which aim to challenge the case for reuse in the take-away sector—with an academic paper, we illustrate how analysis of the same issue can be approached differently to yield conflicting results.

Transparency is crucial in comparative LCAs to ensure scientifically valid results. Peer review and publication of complete studies allow for broader scrutiny and assessment of credibility.

For non-LCAs, such as discussion papers, transparent presentation of data and assumptions is imperative. This report highlights key aspects of takeaway reuse studies that influence results and emphasises the need for scrutiny.

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