Higher recycled content in plastic and glass wine bottles decreases greenhouse gas emissions, according to an independent report which examined the carbon impact of the two materials.
The study, commissioned by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), has been welcomed by British Glass, which said that it will help to dispel unfavourable criticisms that glass has a greater carbon impact than PET.
Researchers examined the manufacturing and transportation life of the bottles and found that lightweight glass bottles with a high recycled content produced broadly the same greenhouse gases as the lighter PET bottle. This is because higher CO2 emissions from PET bottle manufacturing offsets much of the saving made with its lower weight.
British Glass recycling manager Rebecca Cocking said: We are very encouraged by the findings of this independent report, which may help dispel some of the unfavourable criticism that glass packaging is receiving currently with regard to its weight.
WRAP director of retail and organics programmes Richard Swannell said: This demonstrates the positive environmental impact of lightweighting and the incorporation of recycled content.
[It] highlights that there are clear environmental wins to be gained by considering carefully the impact of material choices.
The study compared the carbon impact of 75cl glass and PET wine bottles. Bottles types included a 45g PET bottle with 0% recycled content, a typical glass bottle of 496g with 81% recycled content and a lightweight glass bottle of 365g with 81% recycled content.
Other comparisons considered included a 365g glass bottle with 92% recycled content and PET bottles with 50% and100% recycled content. It was found that the emissions for the 54g PET bottle are within the range of those for the 365g glass bottle.
The report was conducted by Best Foot Forward. For more information visit: www.wrap.org.uk/retail