Life Cycle Assessment of 60 beverage packaging

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On behalf of the Department of Waste and Raw Materials of the FOEN, Carbotech has examined and compared around 60 different beverage packaging (aluminum and tin cans, PET and PE bottles, disposable and returnable glass bottles, PE bags, bag-in-boxes and beverage cartons) of seven beverage types ( Beer, fruit juices, iced tea, sweet drinks, milk, mineral water and wine) by using LCA.

We were able to draw on our experience from various life cycle assessments in the field of packaging (see also our reference projects):

  • Ecological comparison of disposable and reusable containers
  • Ecological benefits of PET bottles recycling Switzerland
  • Sustainability analysis of beverage packaging made of aluminum
  • Eco-efficiency analysis of PE containers
  • Life Cycle Assessment of PE Films Recycling
  • Eco-efficiency analysis of beverage carton with and without recycling
  • LCA wine packaging (glass bottles, bag-in-box)
  • Ecological assessment of wine seals
  • Life cycle assessment of reusable and disposable cups at Euro08
  • LCA of plastic-lime-bonded packaging
  • LCA Comparison of Basler drinking water to mineral water
  • Life Cycle Assessment of Beakers from Belland Materal
  • Life cycle assessment of packaging made from bioplastics
  • Ecological assessment of dishes at sports events
  • Life Cycle Compost Harness – Disposable Harness
  • LCA packing calculator
  • LCA of dispensers made of plastic and aluminum
  • Life Cycle Assessment cheese packaging
  • Environmental impact of chocolate packaging
  • Aluminum packaging recycling
  • LCA packaging finished fondue
  • Screning LCA of dispoboxes versus cardboard boxes
  • Development of teaching materials on the benefits and environmental impact of packaging

The findings made by Carbotech AG regarding beverage packaging are not new:

  • there is not the most ecological packaging
  • content is often much more polluting than the packaging
  • The benefit of packaging that protects the contents, makes them storable and easy to transport is higher than the environmental impact of the packaging itself
  • Packaging-related transport differences are enormous, but not so relevant overall
  • The individual shopping transport is just as crucial as the beverage production

However, the study offered the opportunity to comprehensively update, handle and, in some sense, complete the theme of “environmental impact of beverage packaging”. So it is also our hope that the discussions about the packaging are not so much in the focus and the more relevant topics, namely the contents and thus the benefits of packaging as well as our daily consumer behavior, come in focus of future discussions.


Bundesamt für Umwelt BAFU