Positive Life Cycle Studies
Life cycle studies of PET's energy use and greenhouse gas emissions have consistently shown that PET offers an outstanding eco-profile among packaging materials.
A 2007 U.S. study found that PET bottles generated lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions, required less energy and resulted in less post-consumer solid waste than a bioplastic known as polyactide or PLA.
Two different life-cycle studies conducted in 2009 found that carbonated soft drinks bottled in PET used less energy, created fewer greenhouse gas emissions and generated less solid waste than sodas in glass bottles or aluminum cans.
The recycling of PET improves its positive eco-profile even further. A 2010 life-cycle study on recycled PET found that producing one ton of clean recycled PET in place of virgin PET saved an additional 48 million BTUs of energy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by another 3,000 pounds.4 Recycling PET makes a good thing even better.
It's important to remember that even the best of life cycle studies are imprecise and subject to disagreement. They're unable to take into consideration every aspect of a material's environmental and economic impact, and by their nature, rely significantly on assumptions, averages and mathematical extrapolations.
Nevertheless, the consistently strong performance of PET in numerous life-cycle studies confirms the positive eco-profile and sustainability of PET.