The carbon footprint and energy consumption of beverage packaging selection and disposal

Jorgelina Pasqualino, Montse Meneses, Francesc Castells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)


Most market products are offered to consumers in a wide range of packaging alternatives and the proportion of municipal solid waste attributed to packaging increases year after year. This study assesses the environmental impact of the commonest packaging options on the Spanish market for juice, beer and water. The production of different packaging materials and sizes was evaluated along with their method of final disposal (landfilling, incineration and recycling). Recycling was found to be the most environmentally friendly disposal option for all the packaging alternatives compared, and either incineration or landfilling was considered the second best option depending on the packaging material. The packaging options with the lowest environmental impacts were aseptic carton and plastic packaging (for sizes greater than 1 l). The environmental profile of the whole beverage life cycle was evaluated. The results of the evaluation of the entire life cycle show that the impact of beer packaging is similar to the impact of beer production and these are the highest impact stages in the life cycle of beer. Packaging was found to have the highest environmental impact in the life cycles of water and juice. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-365
JournalJournal of Food Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


  • Aluminium
  • Aseptic carton
  • Environmental assessment
  • HDPE
  • LCA
  • Packaging
  • Waste management


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