Life Cycle Assessment of 60 beverage packaging

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Comprehensive analysis using life cycle assessment of beverage packaging

On behalf of the FOEN Waste and Raw Materials Department, Carbotech examined and compared around 60 different beverage packages (aluminium and tinplate cans, PET and PE bottles, non-returnable and returnable glass bottles, PE bags, bag-in-box and beverage cartons) of seven beverage types (beer, fruit juices, iced tea, sweet drinks, milk, mineral water and wine) using life cycle assessments.

We were able to draw on our experience from various life cycle assessments in the field of packaging. See also the reference projects listed below. The findings on beverage packaging presented by Carbotech AG are not new: there is not THE most ecological packaging and the contents are often much more environmentally damaging than the packaging itself. Furthermore, the analysis over the entire life cycle has shown that the environmental benefit of packaging that protects the contents, makes them storable and easy to transport is higher than the environmental impact of the packaging itself. Although the differences in transport due to packaging are enormous, overall transport is not so relevant in terms of environmental impact. On the other hand, the life cycle assessment shows that the environmental footprint of the individual purchasing transport quickly becomes just as decisive as the environmental footprint of the beverage production itself.

The Life Cycle Assessment study offered the opportunity to comprehensively update, deal with and, in a certain sense, conclude the topic “Environmental impact of beverage packaging”. It is therefore also our hope that the discussions on the environmental impact of packaging will no longer be so strongly focused and that the much more relevant topics, namely the contents and thus also the benefits of packaging as well as our daily consumer behaviour, will come to the fore and be the focus of future discussions.

Projects that served as the basis for the beverage packaging study:

  • 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

Bundesamt für Umwelt BAFU