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PET soft drink bottles

PET soft drink bottles polystyrene, extruded, and thermoformed. (It should be noted that expanded polystyrene cups were not considered, as they had a very small share of the market.) Transportation of granulated PS to the conversion facility, and of the cups to the point of use, was also evaluated. Disposal impacts were based on 60% landfill and 40% incineration. The calculated environmental impacts for the resin production, conversion, and waste processing stages are shown in Table 4.3. As can be seen, in most cases the inputs and outputs associated with resin production are much larger than those associated with conversion and disposal.

The Association of Plastics Manufacturers in Europe (APME) has produced a series of ecoprofile reports on various plastics, including packaging materials. APME adopted the term ecoprofile since the analysis extends only to the point of sale and does not cover disposal. Also, the reports do not include the impact or improvement portions of life-cycle assessment. The reports are publicly available on the association website, www.apme.org and are updated periodically.

Table 4.4 presents selected ecoprofile information for high-density polyethylene bottles, produced by extrusion blow molding, and packaged for shipment to the user, and, for comparison, information for HDPE resin. It should be noted that these use somewhat different data sets. Emissions from the conversion process were stated to be insignificant compared to those associated with inputs to the system. Energy use was distributed as shown in Figure 4.11. Of the portion of energy used in bottle production, 77.3% was used in molding the bottles. The remainder was used in water chilling, storage, conveying, resin handling, and deflashing of the container (Fig. 4.12) [29].

Table 4.5 presents selected ecoprofile information for LDPE and LLDPE resin and for LDPE blown film packaged for shipment. The processing operation consumes 1.6926 MJ of electricity per kilogram of film production. It is assumed that 2% of production is waste polymer, which is recycled back into the process. Production of the resin uses nearly 90% of the total energy required to produce film (Fig. 4.13) [29].

Table 4.3 Environmental Impacts Associated with HIPS/PS Coffee Cups in The Netherlands [28]

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