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About the Presentation: 

About the Presentation:

Popular Material Attributes: How Well Do They Actually Predict Environmental Goodness?
 Businesses, policy-makers, and the general public often rely on simple attributes to inform material selection. These attributes – such as “recyclable” or “compostable” – are widely assumed to result in reductions in environmental impacts. But how valid are these assumptions?

Oregon DEQ recently asked that question and was surprised to discover very little systematic assessment of them. So it commissioned a study – the results of which are being published this fall – that reviewed the last 18 years of global research into the environmental impacts of packaging and food service items with and without four popular attributes: recycled content, recyclable, bio-based, and compostable.

Collectively, the literature identified the relative environmental impacts for thousands of comparisons, from which some important trends emerge that should inform product design, procurement, and waste management programs.  Peter Canepa of Oregon DEQ will present the study motivation, methodology, and results, as well as provide some implications for businesses, guidance on how to leverage the findings of this research, and how to integrate life cycle thinking to make more informed choices regarding materials.  There will be time for discussion.

About the Speaker: 

Peter Canepa, Oregon DEQ: Peter joined the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in January 2017, providing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) expertise to Oregon’s Materials Management program.  Peter’s primary role is to conduct/support projects that advance Oregon towards achieving its 2050 vision, primarily through the application of LCA.  Prior to this role, Peter spent 8 years with Thinkstep, a consultancy specializing in life cycle assessment.  He holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies.

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