Approaches to reducing environmental effects of products and processes have moved steadily upstream over the years from end-of-pipe controls to source reduction and recycling of hazardous waste, and more recently, toward multimedia pollution prevention. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) continues the trend of expanding the authors view and approach to environmental protection. An informal review of the open literature found 29 references to product life cycle studies, 17 of which are related to packaging materials or packaging systems. Beverage containers (cans, bottles and cartons) are the focus of ten of these studies. These packaging-related studies are provided in the bibliography at the end of the paper. The paper includes discussion of the history of LCA's SETAC's involvement in LCA, EPA's guidance on life cycle inventory methodology, life cycle design, and the future of LCA.