Reduced Material Intensiveness

Resource conservation can reduce waste and directly lower environmental impact. A less material-intensive product may also be lighter, thus saving energy in distribution or use. When reduction is simple, benefits can be determined with a vigorous LCA.

For example, a fast-food franchise reduced material input and solid waste generation by decreasing the paper napkin weight by 21%. Two store tests revealed no change in the number of new napkins used compared to the old design. Attempts to reduce the gage of plastic straws, however, caused customer complaints. The redesigned straws were too flimsy and did not draw well with milkshakes

(Environmental Defense Fund and McDonalds' Corporation 1991).

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