Life Cycle analysis results find Cascades' PS foam used in food packaging trays has ecological advantage, uses least amount of GHG emissions among seven packaging materials

KINGSEY FALLS, Quebec , November 17, 2011 (press release) – Cascades is proud to release the results of a life cycle analysis (LCA) conducted by CIRAIG that calculates the ecological footprint for various food packaging trays made from six types of plastic and molded pulp originating from its own plants. Putting an end to the myth, the results actually demonstrate that Cascades polystyrene foam is a good choice for the environment!

The LCA results support the finding that for food packaging trays manufactured by Cascades, the amount of material and type of energy used are the factors that have the most impact on the environment, while the end of life has little impact. Polystyrene foam, made of over 90 percent air, has an irrefutable ecological advantage, despite the fact that it is rarely recycled. For the items studied, this material produced the least amount of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the entire product life cycle, from raw material extraction to end-of-life. In addition, using recycled materials in the fabrication of food packaging trays, as is the case with the RPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) and molded pulp, results in tangible environmental benefits, as doing so reduces the impact resulting from raw material extraction.

Luc Langevin, President and COO of Cascades Specialty Products Group, says, “This analysis provides a new perspective on food packaging. The environmental performance of our trays is much better than popular belief. Polystyrene foam can now be part of our environmental packaging solution.”

This LCA was designed to determine the environmental impact of Cascades' food packaging trays. Seven types of packaging materials were considered, including foamed and oriented polystyrene (XPS and OPS) or no. 6 plastic, standard and recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET and RPET) or no. 1 plastic, polylactic acid polymer (PLA) member of the no. 7 plastic category, polypropylene (PP) or no. 5 plastic and finally molded pulp made of recycled newspapers and telephone books.

The analysis undertaken on Cascades' behalf has permitted the identification of those aspects with the greatest impact throughout the life cycle of different products. “These findings have us taking stock of our current situation so that we can better understand our impact and thereby improve our efforts to reduce the environmental footprint left by our products,” explains Mr. Langevin.

In the spirit of transparency, the detailed results are available at www.cascades.com/lca.


A member of the Cascades Specialty Products Group, the Consumer Product Packaging sector conceives, manufactures and markets packaging products made of moulded pulp and plastic and covers the food, hardware and consumer product industries. Its diversified portfolio also includes site furnishings and construction materials made of 100% recycled plastic.

Founded in 1964, Cascades produces, converts and markets packaging and tissue products composed mainly of recycled fibres. Cascades employs more than 11,000 employees who work in more than 100 production units located in North America and Europe. Cascades' management philosophy, its more than 45 years of experience in recycling, its continued efforts in research and development are strengths which enable the company to create new products for its customers. The Cascades shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol CAS.

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