How to calculate packaging CO2 footprint – Green packaging design

Written by Johanna Kotomäki
Manager, Packaging Design

Climate change presents an ever-growing challenge of conserving global resources. One way of measuring environmental impact of a product is in the amount of packaging waste it produces. 

Most of the packaging material used and discarded through the supply chain in never seen by the customer but still accounts for a constantly growing expense. As waste legislation is tightened, and material scarcity and logistics costs are driving the prices upward, the importance of material optimization is constantly increasing. 

Designing green packaging 

When creating a new packaging solution, estimating the environmental impact of packaging concept is largely dependent on the scope of the collected data used in the calculations and whether a suitable packaging design reference case exists. 

If the solution is completely novel or packaging elements have drastically different requirements, the importance material choice and understanding the performance of the different options becomes critical for the timely completion of the project. 

It can be difficult to show how the solution is optimal when there are no comparative data points, especially when competing concepts have to be finalized to such a degree that estimates could be made from them. 

Calculator for packaging CO2 footprint 

We tackled this this issue by designing a tool to estimate the CO2e difference between different packaging concepts. This expedites the project follow-through and provides tangible data to further demonstrate the validity of the chosen concept in packaging design. 

The scope of the calculations has been chosen to accommodate the most typical packaging material choices and the data has been collected from the ELCD database and Y-HIILARI projects to represent the scenarios we are most likely to operate in. 

This allows us greater freedom to compare single-use and reusable solutions between each other with the projected amount of packages needed throughout the lifetime of the product. 

Our Software and UI design realized the tool for public use, and now you too can plan for different scenarios to see the positive changes of what optimizing your packaging solution can bring! 

The interface is simple and results are immediate and understandable. For added usability, you can store your designs and maintain a portfolio of packaging solutions by registering as an user. 

Check and try out the calculator here! 


Combating climate change is a common goal and we are happy to bring a clear and informative way to communicate your efforts to the people around you. 

If you have questions or would like to ask more detailed questions about packaging or logistics, our designers are happy to share their expertise with you.