Stages of a Life Cycle Assessment of PET Bottle

Stages of a Life Cycle Assessment
Stages of a life cycle assessment can perform environmental impact from each procces of PET bottles like production, consumption and recycling. 

Why we need stages of a life cycle assessment?

PET production with specific packaging applications can contribute to environmental impact, for example, drinks, alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and pharmaceuticals. Contribution to environmental impacts from packaging industry has develope general public awareness. 

Stages of a life cycle assessment can assess the environmental impacts from different stages of the PET bottle such as production, transportation , and recycling

Various recycling systems, protocols and policies can be designed from the insights gained at each stage, post-consumption of PET bottles.

Incentive-based recycling systems already exist in countries like Sweden and Switzerland which in turn help better separation of waste bottles and optimized recycling can be done in the context of textile production, etc.

The advantage of stages of a life cycle assessment

As the general public is increasingly aware of the environmental hazards caused by various everyday products, such studies encourage the use of environmentally friendly products.

Since people from all walks of life are influenced by the packaging industry and most products are driven economically, the environmental aspect of product selection will be a decisive step in the current era.

Scope base on stages of a life cycle assessment

The scope of this life cycle assessment is cradle to grave scope or from the extraction of raw materials to return to the ground. But to make it easier to understand, the scope is divided into 2, namely cradle to gate (upstream) and gate to grave (downstream)

Cradle to gate

  1. The first stage is Cradle to Gate which consists of the acquisition of raw materials where the resources required for the production of the raw materials needed for PET production are considered.
  2. transport of the raw material to the plant where they are mixed and heated and subjected to unit operations such as melt polymerization and solid-state polymerization at high temperatures.
  3. The resin beads are molded in the plastic fabrication stage in the preceding form to suit various sizes of PET bottles.
  4. The same preforms are then transported to the location where they are printed in full sized bottles which are further filled with the same constituents depending on the application. For pharmaceutical product packaging, clean room arrangements are used to avoid microbial contamination.

The main contributor, when viewed from the scope gate to gate, is the PET production process. Whereas the gate to grave stage is the waste collection, recycling, and disposal, post-consumption of PET bottles.

The PET bottle life cycle can be viewed as a closed-loop as waste is recycled back into bottle production. The same can be sent for the filling of production polyester fibers, spinning fibers, partially oriented yarns, sheets, and ropes, etc.

Production process

The raw materials needed for PET production are sent to the production facilities. PET production involves an esterification or transesterification reaction.

Emissions from the production process are also mapped in this exercise with software base on stages of a life cycle assessment.

Once the data is collected, it is analyzed for consistency, and if needed more data is requested depending on the gaps found in the inventory data.

Usage and dumping process

PET bottle recycling consists of various post-consumption stages. After use, most of the bottles are thrown into the trash which is then collected by the central authority in charge of waste collection. Most areas of the world have waste sorting and collection systems.

Garbage collectors are the backbone of the activity of collecting PET bottles (sold for 14 INR / kg) which is then consolidated by Kabadiwalas which separates waste according to various types of polymers which are then sold (25 INR / kg) to wholesalers. or traders are also referred to as aggregators.

They are involved in compaction and underwriting of the bottles which are then sold to recyclers (30 INR / kg). The bottles are then manually sorted, labeled, and removed.

The final product costs 55 INR / kg (http://www.petrecycling.in/). Recyclers use the same for bottle production (closed loop) or fiber spinning (open loop) depending on the demand and the economics of the process.

The power consumption, water and cleaning chemicals required for PET bottle processing at various stages in the downstream life cycle (gate to grave) are considered as inputs.


Top Contributor base on stages of a life cycle assessment

Impact categories are considered during impact selection. the stage-wise distribution of impacts can also be mapped using software or methods.

In stages of a life cycle assessment perspective the production stages of PET resin pellet manufacturing and PET bottle fabrication mostly make the highest contribution to the environmental burden. This translates to the use of fossil fuels as utility and for the production of electricity.

Since PET recycling accounts for and partially balances environmental emissions and burdens. From stages of a life cycle assessment we can see that overall environmental performance of the product can be improved by increase the percentage of recycling.

Sensitivity Analysis

The next part of stages of a life cycle assessment after generating impact outcomes is to study the yield dependencies associated with specific parameters involved in product and process life cycles.

Various scenarios based on real-life situations or imaginary possibilities are implemented to determine changes in the outcome of the impact.

Various scenarios relating to the search for the optimal combination for transportation can be devised at the sensitivity analysis stage.

Energy sources can be shifted from fossil fuel-based production to renewable sources such as wind or solar to observe changes in the overall impact of the process.

The most efficient and optimal energy parameters associated with polymer machining can be assumed as a scenario for examining the savings that can occur with these changes.


Case of PET bottles's product cycles can be used to optimize material input-output and energy flow. It also encourages the development of critical and sustainable policies and planning of material and energy flows with environmental concerns in mind.

The use of fossil fuels as a utility at various stages of life is a major contributor to environmental loads. These have been translated into various impact categories. In order to make products more sustainable and ecological, Fossil fuel can be converted into different renewable sources

The creation of coherent data for specific processes at different stages of the life cycle reduces the uncertainty involved in outcomes. 

Stages of a life cycle assessment bottle should be used to compare the PET bottle system. So that, This assessment tool should be used wisely in areas to gain a better understanding of good decision making. The quantum collected, such processes must be fostered by better systems and policies to gain the benefits recycling of PET.

Source: K.V. Marathe et.al. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of PET Bottles

Also read: Life Cycle Analysis Cradle to Grave for Municipal Solid Waste in Turkey

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