Informing Packaging Design Decisions at Toyota Motor Sales Using Life Cycle Assessment and Costing


Address correspondence to:
Prof. Roland Geyer
Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131


Throughout their life cycle stages—material production, package manufacture, distribution, end-of-life management—packaging systems consume natural resources and energy, generate waste, and emit pollutants. Each of these stages also carries a financial cost. Motivated by a desire to decrease environmental burdens while reducing financial costs associated with the packaging of accessory and service parts, Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) partnered with the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management to build a life cycle assessment and costing tool to support packaging design decisions. The resulting Environmental Packaging Impact Calculator (EPIC) provides comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC). It allows packaging designers to identify environmentally and economically preferable packaging systems in daily decision-making. EPIC's parameterized process flow model allows users to assess many different packaging systems using a single model. Its input/output interface is designed for users without preexisting knowledge of LCA theory or practice and calculates results based on relatively few input data. The main motivation behind this environmental design tool is to provide relevant information to those individuals who are in the best position to reduce life cycle impacts and costs from TMS's packaging and distribution systems.