With the GaBi Packaging Calculator, thinkstep offers a software tool that can help companies to design sustainable packaging.

The GaBi Packaging Calculator (GPC) is a web-based configuration tool, designed for the requirements of the packaging industry. It allows packaging designers to create life cycle assessments and to simulate the use of alternative materials or processes in design scenarios. The GaBi Packaging Calculator is suitable for any company that produces or puts packaging into circulation. The operation is intuitive and requires no expert knowledge.

The GPC is based on dozens of LCI (Life Cycle Inventory) datasets. They form the basis of a life cycle assessment (LCA). The GPC includes LCI datasets on the materials used in packaging (e.g., plastics, bioplastics, laminates, etc.), manufacturing processes (e.g., injection molding), and transportation modes (air, ship, road, rail).

Packaging designers and product developers create their life cycle assessments with the GPC with the click of a mouse by setting parameters on an intuitive web interface. The GPC provides the ability to configure alternative packaging scenarios and compare them to the current designs. Within the entire value chain, it is thereby possible to determine with which materials, production processes, transport routes or locations companies can optimize their environmental footprint and reduce harmful environmental impacts.

"With a share of 40%, the packaging industry is the largest consumer of plastics in Europe," says Sophie Kieselbach, head of Sustainable Packaging at thinkstep. "The uncontrolled export of our plastic waste, which has been practiced for years in countries without a suitable recycling structure, has played its part in giving plastics packaging a bad name. Media attention, increasing sensitivity on the part of consumers and more restrictive regulations, such as the recent German Packaging Act, are calling for the packaging industry to make changes now more than ever. " Whether made of plastic or other materials, packaging is part of the added value in almost all manufacturing companies. The demand for more sustainable packaging solutions is correspondingly high.

"Solid, fact-based information is an essential basis for decision-making on the path toward more sustainable packaging designs," adds Flora D'Souza, chiefly responsible for the development of the GaBi Packaging Calculator. "With the GaBi Packaging Calculator, our clients can map the sometimes complex requirements and processes in the production of packaging in an intuitive and attractively priced web tool."

Once the appropriate parameters have been selected and adjusted, the GPC delivers the results of the LCA at the touch of a button. The complete report can then be exported as a PDF or RTF file.

In addition to Life Cycle Assessment, the GPC also provides pulp recyclability based on the MCI (Material Circularity Indicator), a benchmark developed by the prestigious Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Granta Design that evaluates how materials conform to the concept of a circular economy. This makes the GPC the only software on the market that can be used to create life cycle assessments as well as determine the recyclability of packaging.

"In the future, companies will have to face a competition in which the sustainability factor will be even more decisive than it already is," says Kieselbach. "As a full-service provider for software and consulting, thinkstep has sustainability experts in all industrial sectors. Used in packaging across all industries, the GaBi Packaging Calculator is an almost universal tool that helps companies substantiate their decisions with sound environmental data."

Find out more about the tool in this webinar.