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O-I: sustainability credentials of glass packaging

O-I is hoping to convince consumers of the sustainability credentials of glass packaging with the lifecycle assessment of a 335ml glass container from the extraction of raw materials through to reuse …

O-I is hoping to convince consumers of the sustainability credentials of glass packaging with the lifecycle assessment of a 335ml glass container from the extraction of raw materials through to reuse or recycling, serving to create an equivalent cradle-to-cradle assessment for aluminium and PET. This research, said O-I, is a first for the packaging industry. According to O-I chief executive Al Stroucken: “Many 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.” He added that inconsistent measurements had made it impossible to compare packaging materials and the firm had sought to take the “best and most complete approach” to provide an accurate picture. The carbon footprint regards four areas of the world – North and Latin America, Western Europe and Asia-Pacific – assuming a higher proportion of recycled content for aluminium than glass and PET for each area. The results proved that PET and aluminium containers used more carbon dioxide in all four regions, except in Latin America, where aluminium and glass had the same carbon footprint. The research also states that transporting finished containers accounted for 4-5% of carbon emissions, confirming the benefits of increased recycled content. The results also show that packaging has a lower carbon footprint in Western Europe than in North America, where it assumed a lower level of recycled content. O-I said it currently used 36% recycled glass worldwide, thus generating enough energy savings to offset the emissions from transporting finished goods. O-I vice president of sustainability, Jay Scripter, said: “When you look at the complete lifecycle of glass, commonly held misconceptions are disproved. Food and beverage makers concerned about sustainability should choose glass.”

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