Knowledge for better food systems

Glass vs PET wine bottles study

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has announced the results of the first UK study into the carbon impact of bottling wine in the UK in glass and PET bottles.
The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has announced the results of the first UK study into the carbon impact of bottling wine in the UK in glass and PET bottles. The report looks at the carbon impact of 75cl glass and PET wine bottles and how significant reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) can be made through lightweighting and increasing the recycled content of bottles. The study compares PET bottles versus typical glass bottles used by UK-based bottlers. The core comparison was between:
  • PET bottle = 54g with 0% recycled content
  • Typical glass bottle available in UK = 496g with 81% recycled content
  • Lightweight glass bottle available in UK = 365g with 81% recycled content
Two further comparisons are also made in the full report:
  • 365g with 92% recycled content glass bottles; and
  • PET bottles with different recycled content.
When a lighter glass bottle is used (365g), the emissios from the PET bottle comes out as marginally lower when using the medium estimate for glass production emissions, although the level of emissions is broadly similar. Manufacturing glass is less carbon intensive than manufacturing PET on a per unit weight basis. However a PET wine bottle can be manufactured of lower weight than the glass equivalent and lightweighting can reduce transport related emissions. When recycled PET is used, CO2 emissions are reduced, primarily because extraction, transport and synthesis of crude oil are avoided. It is more energy and resource efficient to incorporate recycled PET into bottle manufacture than to produce PET bottles using only virgin material. The study analyses only CO2 emissions and not other greenhouse gases. The inclusion of other greenhouse gases would increase the emissions from manufacturing PET by almost 14 per cent and for glass by about 10 per cent.
 

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