What footprint results do you get from Pickler?

Pickler caluclates your packaging's environmental footprint. What are the concrete results you get?


Zazala Quist


July 13, 2023

Key insights

Pickler helps you calculate the environmental footprint of your packaging products. And share it to make greenwash-free claims on the environmental benefits of your product. 

What exactly do you calculate? How do you explain it to stakeholders? 

This blog, we walk you through:

1. Pickler’s footprint method

2. Pickler’s eco forecast (results)

2.1 Pickler’s eco cost model

2.2. Pickler’s end-of-life approach

3. Pickler’s product comparison results

1. Pickler performs Life Cycle Assessments (LCA)

Pickler calculates the environmental footprint of your packaging products using the scientific method Life Cycle Assessment - also called LCA. 

LCA connects environmental impact to every stage in your packaging's life cycle. From the production of its raw materials to its end-of-life (when it’s wasted/reused /recycled/etc.). 

To calculate your LCA results, Pickler connects your:

  • product category 
  • product weight 
  • raw materials (BOM)
  • production processes 
  • transport
  • and end-of-life system;

- to average impact data from our independent, auto-updated database Idemat

The results: credible, live, impact results for your packaging. Calculated within minutes!

Why LCA and not just a carbon footprint calculation?

LCA is the method the European Union chose for all current and upcoming sustainability reporting regulations in packaging. 

That’s because the EU wants you to report on more than ‘just’ your packaging’s carbon footprint. LCA calculates your packaging’s full environmental footprint, which includes its carbon footprint and many other impacts. 

It helps both you and your customers make claims and/or report in line with EU regulations!

2. Explaining Pickler’s Eco forecast

The environmental footprint of your packaging is displayed and summarised in your eco forecast. (image below) 

Let’s go through every part.

a. Environmental Impact Score

What: A labeling system ranging from A - G to show how environmentally friendly your packaging is. It uses stoplight colors similar to energy and nutrition labels. 

Why: The Impact score is an intuitive way to give customers or other stakeholders a clear impression of your packaging’s environmental impact. The labeling is based on our eco cost model. Which is explained in point 2.1.

Scores are usually higher for bigger, heavier packaging types. This makes sense. The bigger and heavier - the more materials used - the higher its environmental impact. 

b. Expected Eco costs total 

What: A single score for your packaging’s footprint expressed in € per kg of material. The score summarizes all 12 impact categories in LCA. 

Why: Having a single score allows us to finally compare the complete impacts of different products. Something that’s otherwise impossible, as all impacts have different measurement units. 

You can see eco costs as the environmental costs that aren’t reflected in the market price of your packaging. Put it on top of your sales price and you have a ‘True’ price for your packaging.

c. Carbon footprint.

What: Total carbon footprint of your packaging expressed in CO2-eq. 

Why: Carbon footprints are popular for a reason. They often make up the biggest impact chunk of your packaging. But this isn’t always the case - which is why it’s crucial we cover 4 impact categories in Pickler.

Pickler's eco forecast explained.

d. Impact on Resource Scarcity.

What: Impact your packaging product has on resource scarcity, expressed in eco costs. 

Why: Every new product requires raw materials that need to be retrieved. This heavily impacts our available resources and creates resource depletion/scarcity. A big issue to solve in our goals to create a more circular economy, hence a focus area from the EU. 

For example - if you use recycled materials in your production, this often decreases your impact on resource scarcity. 

e. Impact on Ecosystems

What: Impact your packaging has on disrupting ecosystems, expressed in eco costs. 

Why: Our ecosystems are crucial to creating balance in nature. However, our economic activities are decreasing biodiversity and polluting soil, water, and landscapes. All together damaging entire ecosystems. Making it one of the crucial impact categories to report on.

f. Impact on Human Health

What: Impact your packaging has on human health, expressed in eco costs.

Why: Next to polluting our environment - our economic efforts result in many types of emissions that can cause cancer or other illnesses for humans. A crucial aspect to cover.

g. Eco costs per product stage.

What: shows which stage in your packaging’s life cycle represents your biggest impact.

  1. Material (your BOM)
  2. Production
  3. Transport
  4. End of life

Value: This information shows where your biggest impact comes from. And therefore, also where the biggest reduction potential can be achieved.

2. Explaining Pickler’s eco costs (€)

At Pickler, we use the eco cost model. It connects a monetary value to each impact category in LCA, allowing us to summarize all LCA impacts into a single monetary value (€). This finally makes it possible to compare the full impact of products.

The eco costs are used to create the environmental score from A -G for your packaging (as explained above). The scoring is:

  • A: anything below €0.10 eco-costs per kg of material*
  • B: €0.10 to €0.20 eco-costs per kg of material
  • C: €0.20 to €0.40 eco-costs per kg of material
  • D: €0.40 to €0.80 eco-costs per kg of material
  • E: €0.80 to €1.20 eco-costs per kg of material
  • F: €1.20 to €2.00 eco-costs per kg of material
  • G: anything above €2.00 eco-costs per kg of material

Read more about the eco cost model here.

2.2 Pickler’s approach to end of life

The end-of-life stage looks at the environmental footprint that comes with the waste processing of your packaging after use. 

Unfortunately, it’s often impossible for packaging companies to ensure what the consumer will do with the packaging after use.

Therefore, Pickler uses default end-of-life scenarios using EU averages (incineration with energy recovery, landfill, recycling, composting) to prevent greenwashing. If users have proof of the end-of-life of their packaging (e.g. via a take-back system), the process can be changed in Pickler. 

3. Pickler’s comparison overview

With Pickler’s comparison feature, you can:

  • Compare the footprint of different products you offer 
  • Compare your product to a scenario and switch up materials, processes, transport distances, or end-of-life. 

Pickler's comparison feature.

Comparing helps you build cases for customers or provide them insights on the footprint of different options.  

It shows the comparison between:

  • eco scores
  • total eco costs
  • sales prices
  • True costs (sales price + eco costs)
  • total carbon footprints
  • eco costs per impact category
  • impact % per life cycle stage

Pickler's comparison overview - impact categories + life cycle stages

Zazala Quist

Head of growth

Hi, I'm Zazala - Head of Growth at Pickler. I've worked in impact measurements for many years and experienced first hand how difficult it can be for businesses to start. My goal: share my practical knowledge to make environmental sustainability accessible and understandable to business. Have questions about this topic or just want to chat? Reach out to me via email or LinkedIn!