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Glass packaging has lowest carbon footprint

A study has found that the lifecycle of a glass container produces the lowest emissions compared to aluminium or plastic packaging.

Carried out by glass recycler O-I, the report is the packaging industry’s ‘first’ complete carbon footprint assessment of the lifecycle of a glass container from the extraction of raw materials to its reuse or recycling. Glass had the lowest carbon footprint across the globe.

O-I vice president of sustainability Jay Scripter said: “Our assessment shows that glass clearly has the most favourable carbon footprint. Food and beverage makers concerned about sustainability should choose glass.”

Research showed that in western Europe glass containers produced 0.110kg of CO2, while aluminium produced 0.122kg of CO2 and PET plastic produced 0.152kg of CO2. However, aluminium packaging contained 53% recycled content and glass had 47% recycled content, while PET plastic packaging contained 2% recycled content.

O-I chief executive Al Stroucken commented: “Many of the assessments used today only take into account a portion of the full lifecycle of a product resulting in incomplete and inaccurate data. Customers are sometimes unknowingly making packaging decisions based on incomplete data.”

According to research, transporting glass products makes up 4% to 5% of its carbon footprint. Furthermore, using recycled glass directly reduces the amount of energy needed to extract and process raw materials, so every 10% of recycled glass used in production reduces carbon emissions by 5%.

O-I has used the study to agree on sustainability goals, which are to be announced shortly.

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