The Understanding Packaging (UP)


A free, easy-to-use web-based tool to assess human and environmental health impacts
of common foodware and food packaging choices.


The latest beta version of the UP Scorecard (v0.3) is now live!

This new version features expanded regionalization capabilities including Europe, functionality to add new customized containers, a simplified scoring system, and a streamlined presentation of results.

Read more about this latest update in the UP Scorecard blog, see a list of detailed improvements in the Change Log, and find answers to common questions about what the UP Scorecard does and how it works on the updated FAQ page. Scroll further down on this page for a first introduction to this free and powerful tool.

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What is the UP Scorecard?

The UP Scorecard is a science-based online tool to help users select foodware and food packaging that is safe and environmentally sustainable.

The UP Scorecard measures commonly used foodware and food packaging materials with a single yardstick to offer the first-ever, free, and comprehensive tool for making sustainable purchasing decisions for these products based on the latest available science. Scores are provided for plastic pollution, chemicals of concern,  climate, water use, sustainable sourcing, and recoverability. Developed through an unprecedented collaboration of leading food service companies, NGOs and technical experts, the UP Scorecard provides an authoritative resource for businesses as well as for environmental and human health advocates.

Why is the UP Scorecard valuable?

With its huge purchasing power, the food service industry could provide a transformative market signal to foodware and packaging manufacturers for more sustainable products. This opportunity remains mostly unrealized today, because food service industry buyers often lack the technical expertise needed to evaluate the wide range of more sustainable solutions amid increasing green marketing claims, such as recyclable, compostable, non-toxic, and low carbon.

The UP Scorecard provides a comprehensive way to assess the impacts of foodware and food packaging on human and environmental health. This free tool backed by sustainability and foodservice leaders brings consistency and transparency to the foodware and food packaging industry. The UP Scorecard was built using LCA science but positions the information in a conveniently consumable way so better choices are easy to make.

How does the UP Scorecard work?

Scores are based on both standardized life cycle assessment (LCA) methods and novel scoring approaches that measure impacts from production to disposal. The calculations were reviewed and programmed by a team of independent LCA professionals. Where possible, life cycle impact assessment calculations were carried out based on peer-reviewed inventory data managed within the internationally recognized Ecoinvent database. A wide range of the most recent and publicly available data sources from governments, industry, academia, and NGO research and reporting projects were reviewed to inform model inputs including to develop the life cycle inventory. Best professional judgement compiled from the multi-stakeholder experts involved in the tool’s development were applied to address data gaps and recognize uncertainties.

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How do I get started?

Click the button below to launch the beta version of the UP Scorecard. It will open as a pop-up window in your browser, and you can follow the on-screen instructions to move step-by-step through the tool. It currently works when viewed on a laptop, desktop, or tablet (mobile phones are not supported).

The UP Scorecard currently can only be viewed on a laptop, desktop, or tablet device. Mobile phones are not yet supported. Please switch to a different device to launch the UP Scorecard.

Questions? Feedback?

Check out the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page for answers to common questions about how the UP Scorecard works and how it can help.

The UP Scorecard is currently available as a beta version. Your thoughts and suggestions for future updates of the tool are appreciated. Please fill out this survey. For all other questions or inquiries, get in touch with us via email.

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Stay tuned

There are big plans for further development of the UP Scorecard including scoring of more packaging products, new packaging product customization options, expanded geographical coverage, and improved user functionality.

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Check out our blog

Keep up with the latest updates and insights in and around the UP Scorecard project. Our blog is a place to learn more about new UP Scorecard features, upcoming events, discussions with experts, and helpful external resources.

Want to help?

Are you or your organization interested in the further development and use of the UP Scorecard? Want to help us make the UP Scorecard better through your professional expertise or through a tax-deductible financial contribution? Then please get in touch with us via email.

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