Study quantifies benefits of recycled PET and HDPE

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Recycling Sustainability

A study has been published with the support of leading US packaging trade groups that uses life cycle inventory (LCI) data to underline the sustainability benefits of incorporated recycled materials into PET and HDPE packs.

Conducted by Franklin Associates and sponsored by several trade bodies and industry groups, the study measured the environmental footprint needed to collect postconsumer PET and HDPE packaging, sort and separate the material, and reprocess it into recycled resin.

The National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), one of the study sponsors, said the benefits of incorporating recycled resin into a package are significant in terms of production energy required and greenhouse gas emissions.

Considering the study results alongside US EPA and Energy Information Administration (EIA) data, NAPCOR said reclaiming all PET post consumer containers recycled in 2008 would require 30 trillion Btu less energy than it would take to produce the equivalent tonnage of virgin PET resin. This, the trade body said, is equivalent to the annual energy use of 317,000 US homes and, in greenhouse gas (GHG) terms adds up to a saving of 1.1m tons of CO2 equivalents.

Increased customer interest

NAPCOR along with other industry partners including the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR), and the PET Resin Association (PETRA), commissioned the study in response to demands from packaging users for more environmental information.

“This is long-sought-after information for companies that want to include environmental sustainability as one of the ways in which they evaluate their product package options,”​ said Tom Busard, NAPCOR Chairman

Busard, who is also VP global procurement and material systems for Plastipak Packaging, added: “We’re seeing more customers requesting LCIs in order to do Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) so that they can more accurately understand the sustainability profiles of their packaging.”

To read the complete study, please click here​.

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