more earth-friendly than glass and aluminum bottles
A newly released life cycle inventory of single-serving
soda containers concludes that PET plastic bottles offer a better
environmental footprint than aluminum cans or glass bottles by
using less energy, generating less solid waste, and creating
significantly fewer greenhouse gases.
The cradle-to-grave study, conducted by Franklin Associates for
the PET Resin Association (PETRA), compared total energy, solid
waste and greenhouse gas emissions per 100,000 ounces of soft
drinks packaged in typical 20 oz. PET bottles, 8 oz. glass bottles,
or 12 oz. aluminum cans. The PET bottles showed appreciably lower
numbers across the board.
Most notable were the lower greenhouse gas emissions for the
PET bottles, which registered 59 percent less than aluminum and
77 percent less than glass. Franklin calculated the greenhouse
gas emissions for the PET bottles at 1,125 lbs. of carbon dioxide
equivalents, compared to 2,766 lbs. for aluminum and 4,949 lbs.
Energy use for the PET bottles totaled 11.0 million BTU per 100,000
ounces of soft drink, compared to 16.0 million BTU for aluminum
and 26.6 million BTU for glass.
Solid wastes for the PET bottles totaled 302 lbs., versus 767
lbs. for aluminum, and 4,457 lbs. for glass. Solid waste volume
was 0.67 cubic yards for PET, 0.95 cubic yards for aluminum,
2.14 cubic yards for glass.
“This study again confirms the excellent environmental profile
and value of PET for packaging foods and beverages,” said PETRA
executive director Ralph Vasami. “Since 2005, PET containers
have been the subject of several independent life-cycle analyses
and PET has consistently shown itself to be a sound environmental
choice whether compared to glass, metal or other plastics.”
The post-consumer disposal and recycling calculations included
transporting to a landfill or incinerator, equipment operations
at a landfill, and energy recovered by an incinerator, but excluded
incinerator and landfill emissions. Post-fabrication transportation
to the filling site, filling, distribution, storage, retail use
and consumer use were excluded.