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LCA Findings Report


Updated October 2023


Why do a Lifecycle Assessment (LCA)?

A Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) is a comprehensive method used to evaluate the environmental impact of a product through every stage of its lifecycle. 

At Re:Dish, our LCA helps us improve our sustainability measures and make informed decisions about our products, materials and processes. We also use the results to quantify the benefits of using our reusable products compared to their single-use counterparts, and we share these impact metrics with our clients. 


Using the LCA methodology[1], Re:Dish conducted a “cradle to grave” LCA, meaning we considered every lifecycle stage from product creation to the implementation of the Re:Dish Reusables Program to end-of-life disposal. Inputs (materials, energy, water) and outputs (emissions to air, discharges to water and solid waste) were tracked at each stage, then translated into environmental impact measurements across multiple categories.

We then identified comparable single-use disposable items of various materials and conducted the same analysis to understand the environmental savings of switching to Re:Dish reusables. 

Lifecycle Stages

Figures 1a & 1b: The lifecycle of Re:Dish products and single-use products, including the inputs and outputs tracked in our LCA.

ReDish Lifecycle.png

Re:Dish Lifecycle Stages:

  • Production: Includes everything from raw material extraction, manufacturing, and delivery to Re:Dish facilities.

  • Collection & Redistribution: Includes everything from fuel to road use incurred by transporting items to and from client sites.​

  • Washing & Sanitizing: Includes water, energy, and detergent used in daily operations.​

  • End-of-Life Disposal: Addresses product management items are no longer fit for use.

Single-use lifecycle.png

Single-Use Lifecycle Stages:

  • Production: Includes the extraction of raw materials, product manufacturing and delivery to the end-user. 
    Use & Disposal: Assumes a one-time use and then composte
    d, landfilled, or recycled based on regional practices.


Environmental Impact of Re:Dish Reusables

Smaller products have less environmental impact because they require less material to produce them, can move more efficiently through our Washing and Sanitizing process, and are lighter to transport.

Figure 2a: Average Climate Impact Per Use
Grams of CO2e per use

New Carbon by SKU.png

In most cases, the majority of Re:Dish’s Climate Impact accrues at the Production stage, followed by the Washing and Sanitization stage where energy is consumed to power our facilities and process.

Fig 2 and 3 key.png

Figure 2b: Average Water Footprint Per Use
Liters of water per use

New Water by SKU.png
Fig 2 and 3 key.png

Re:Dish’s Water Footprint is also mostly accrued at the Production stage.

Note: Per use results are based on a conservative 20 total reuses[2]. This assumes a 5% loss where 2.5% reached the end of their useful life and were returned by us to be recycled into new products, and the rest were incorrectly returned and  entered a typical waste management scenario for the region[3].

How Reuse Drives Impact

Per Use Climate Impact of 9x9” Clamshells by Number of Uses
Grams of CO2e

Fig 3.png

Figure 3: Re:Dish’s climate impact based on number of uses. While this figure shows the climate impacts for the 9x9” Clamshells, all Re:Dish products produce similar results, for both Climate Impact and Water Footprint.

Fig 2 and 3 key.png

The more times items are used, the smaller the impact PER use becomes. Over time, the impact of production is so small that total impact per use approaches the recurring environmental costs of collection, washing, and redistribution.

Environmental Impact Breakeven Results

Cumulative Climate Impact Over Time
For 9x9 Re:Dish Clamshell Comparison

Fig 5 Climate Impact.png
Revised comparison key.png

Cumulative Water Footprint Over Time
For 9x9 Re:Dish Clamshell Comparison

Figure 5 Water Footprint.png
Revised comparison key.png

Figures 5a & 5b: Climate change impact and water footprint that compares Re:Dish Reusables and similar single-use products made from different materials. All Re:Dish products produce similar results.

Re:Dish reusables are designed to be more durable than single-use items. As a result, Re:Dish requires more material production, which accrues environmental impact. That’s why Re:Dish starts with a higher Climate Impact and Water Footprint on first use, as seen in fig. 5a & b.

However, Re:Dish quickly becomes  more environmentally-efficient after just a few uses, because the impact of reuse operations is significantly lower than production of new items. ​

  • Emissions savings realized after ~3-6 reuses.​

  • Water savings realized after ~15 reuses.​


Re:Dish Impact: A Tangible Illustration

The impact a single institution can make by switching to Re:Dish is significant. For example, consider a company of 1,000 employees transitioning from single-use products to Re:Dish. Assuming each employee uses one cup and one clamshell daily over 260 workdays, the yearly impact is:

24,802 lbs of waste diverted from the waste stream.

That’s equivalent to:


5,219 bags of waste avoided.

58,500 kg of CO22e was not emitted.

That’s equivalent to:

64,350 pounds of coal not burned.


100,280 gallons of
water saved.

That’s equivalent to:


20,056 buckets of water not used.

Impact Reporting

The results of this LCA feed into DishTrack, Re:Dish’s proprietary impact and inventory dashboard. For standard impact reporting:

  • Re:Dish clamshell containers and plates are compared to similar “compostable” products made of sugarcane bagasse.

  • ​Re:Dish round containers and pleated cups are compared to similar "compostable” products made of paper with PLA liners and PLA lids. 

These materials were selected based on what Re:Dish clients were most often using prior to partnering with Re:Dish.

[1]  - Our LCA was performed consistent with the ISO 14040/14044 standard
[2] -
Our products are tested to withstand more than 1000 uses
[3] - SimaPro v.9.4 LCA software and the EcoInvent 3 dataset


Data Sources

Re:Dish’s LCA was performed consistent with ISO 14040/44 standards, using the SImaPro LCA software. The best available data specific to the Re:Dish products and processes was used. This included the material composition of each of our products, specifications on water, energy and materials used by our warewashing machines, and typical data on our delivery and collection routes. 

The lifecycle of single-use products was modeled using SimaPro LCA software[4]. Specifications for those products are shown in the appendix and based upon existing literature and data from vendors. Manufacturing and other processes were based on available literature and datasets. Findings were then validated for consistency with the results reported in other tools and analyses[5].

Background lifecycle inventory data (describing the impacts of electricity, gasoline, chemicals and other material production) was obtained from literature and lifecycle inventory databases such as USLI and EcoInvent[4].

Single-Use Products Used for Impact Calculator Comparison

Appendix comparison chart.png


For Re:Dish products:

For single-use products:


[4] - SimaPro v.9.4 LCA software and the EcoInvent 3 dataset
[5] - Results were validated to be consistent with the results obtained using the UpScorecard developed by SUM'D and the EcoImpact Compass for Packaging by Trayak
[6] - Re:Dish’s impact reporting uses an average of the results for the three clamshell sizes

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