I am very keen on independent scientific research. It unravels all kinds of myths, incontrovertibly and irrefutably. One such a persistent myth is the alleged harmfulness of aluminium household foil when used for wrapping your daily lunch. This has been claimed so often that even the industry is inclined to believe it. What has made this argument even more persuasive is the constant promotion of the lunchbox as a supposedly less harmful alternative.
An independent lifecycle analysis, carried out under the instructions of our sector organisation European Aluminium Foil Association e.V (EAFA), has yielded groundbreaking results. The study’s title? Sandwich LCA study. It is to the EAFA’s credit that it selected a research agency with a proven track record in environmental concerns: Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung Heidelberg (IFEU). In other words: the study was carried out in the lion’s den. It was comparable to a sports journalist presenting a negative piece about Manchester United to Louis van Gaal first. IFEU performed its research in Germany, on the basis of European average figures for washing a lunchbox in a dishwasher. This involved energy consumption, water use, dishwasher liquid and type of dishwasher. So the impact of producing a plastic lunchbox was not considered; all they looked at was the environmental impact of putting it into the dishwasher every day.
The results from this study have recently been presented at the international SETAC conference in Novi Sad in Serbia. SETAC stands for Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. The audience was fascinated by the result. To us, as an industry, the research result was also surprising: using aluminium household foil for wrapping your lunch has less impact on the environment than a plastic box that is washed daily. Mind you: this result does not even consider the very high recycling rate of aluminium: 75%.
Aluminium household foil: a better alternative to lunchboxes
This independent study proves the need for reliable data in order to tell the true story of the full lifecycle of LCA. We consider this study an important step in communicating the message that aluminium household foil is an excellent alternative to lunchboxes as well as a worthy ambassador for the whole aluminium packaging sector.
Of course you are just as critical as I am. So why would you believe the information from this blog? That’s why it takes only one mouse click to view the complete research results. If you send me an email I will send you the independent report. Good reading material for your break. With a sandwich wrapped in aluminium household foil!
Willem ten Hove