1ST INTERNATIONAL BLACK SEA CONGRESS ON
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (IBCESS)
Giresun, TURKEY | August 31 - September 03, 2016
PET Water Bottle: A Carbon Footprint Assessment
Sevde USTUN ODABASI1, Hanife BUYUKGUNGOR1
1 Ondokuz Mayis University, Engineering Faculty, Environmental Engineering Department,
*(E-mail of presenting author: email@example.com)
Plastic is a modern day’s biggest hazard. This trend, started in 1973’s, and ends in
pollution of oceans to ecosystems. A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact
human activities on earth and in particular on the environment; more specifically it
relates to climate change and to the total amount of greenhouse gases produced,
measured in units of carbon dioxide emitted. The carbon footprints is the largest
contributor to humanity’s total environmental footprint. The world population consumes
ever-increasing amounts of all types of products, and more products are being sold
with packaging day by day. Most market products are offered to consumers in a wide
range of packaging alternatives regardless of the proportion of municipal solid waste
attributed to packaging increases year after year.
In this study, PET bottles were evaluated for Carbon Footprint criteria. The functional
unit is defined as “one piece 33cl bottle”. The study used two different waste disposal
scenarios. These scenarios included disposal in landfills and incineration.
Assessments and comparing operations in the system are done by using software
entitled with SimaPro 8.0.1 Greenhouse Gas Protocol method, which is developed as
appropriate with ISO 14040 Life Cycle Assessment Standard was also applied to PET
bottle under consideration.
Keywords: Carbon Footprint, PET Bottle, Greenhouse Gases, SimaPro 8.0.1, ISO 14040.
The world population consumes ever-increasing amounts of all types of products, and
more and more products are being sold with packaging, mostly plastics (Pasqualino et
al. 2011). This means that today consumers generates lots of packaging waste. This
has resulted in a growing percentage of packaging material in municipal solid waste
stream (Pasqualino et al. 2011).
The dominance of plastic in the packaging market, and resulting waste stream has
lead to the need of its production control along with use and disposal management
pratices efficiently and sustanability. In 2010 global plastic production totalled 265
million tonnes of plastic that was generated. This huge plastic production shows huge
adverse impacts on environment, including global warming and climate change
(Dormer et al. 2013).
Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the atmosphere are regarded as
the chief contributor to global warming (Soloman et al. 2007). For this reason, product
carbon footprints (PFC) are great interest as a central measure impact in supply chain
(Jensen and Arlbjørn, 2014). Within the plastic packaging sector, carbon footprints
have already been calculated for various plastic packaging products: Pasqualino et al
(2011) examined the carbon footprint effects of bottling water in both PET and glass
bottles of various size. Ustun Odabasi and Buyukgungor (2016) studied the life cycle
assessment (LCA) effect of PET and glass bottles. Both studies showed the LCA of
plastics and glass, and observed that plastics have a lower carbon footprint and lower
environmental effect in comparison with glass packaging material. Carbon footprints
are a summation of greenhouse-gas emissions of a product or service across its
lifetime (or life cycle). A carbon footprint is a subset of a life cycle assessment, which
is a sum total of all emissions of product or service (Johnson, 2009). Consequently,
LCA is a suitable tool for assessing plastic bottle packaging and packaging disposal
The goals of the present research were to calculate the carbon footprint of PET bottle
and analyse how the carbon footprint affected by varying the raw material production
concent, transport efficiency and end-of-life cycle scenario. Disposal scenarios are
landfilling and incineration. This scenario did not include recycle, however, already,
recycling is good option of plastic material. This study has investigated another
disposal method. Unfortunately, disposal mechanisim of landfilling is still widely applied
in Turkey. Incineration system is also commonly use in Europian Countries. The
footprint was calculated and analysed in SimaPro 8.0.1, a commercial software
package for LCA.
MATERIALS & METHODS
International standards (ISO 14040,2006; ISO 14044, 2006) define LCA as a
compilation and evaluation of the inputs, outputs and the potential environmental
impacts of a system throughout its life cycle, from production of raw materials to the
disposal of the waste generated. LCA also involves defining the goal and scope of the
assessment and making a life cycle inventory.
2.1. Goal and Functional Unit
The goal of this carbon footprint is to assess the environmental impacts of glass bottle.
Also, comparing of disposal scenarios (Landfilling and Incineration). The functional unit
is defined as “one piece 33 cl bottle”. This study’s goal is to find a disposal scenario
having the lowest environmental impact.
The considered packages were compared with two phases i.e. production and waste
disposal and the system boundaries were formed by these phases see Figure 1. After
the production of bottle in İstanbul. Production unit, they were transported to sakarya
where filling of bottles were performed by filling station. The final destination of product
is the target market is İzmir in ourcase. After the consumption of water, a consumer
dump empty bottles in landfill or in incineration system.
The distance between above mentioned locations are mentioned as follows:
İstanbul-Sakarya: 154 km
Sakarya-İzmir. 502 km
İzmir- İzmir Landfill: 22 km
İzmir-Incineration System: 62 km
Figure 1: System Boundary. Production of Pet bottle and waste scenarios.
2.3. Life Cycle Inventory
The scope of this LCA is like cradle to door. For a product, this includes all steps from
transportation of raw materials and fuels, followed by all conversion steps until the
product- i.e. delivered to customer (Ustun Odabasi and Buyukgungor, 2016). By
looking into all disposal methods, one method must be selected out.
The primary data group relating to the production of the bottle was obtained from the
package producers and literature review. The database of the software was used for
the secondary data group relating to raw materias and processes. This data was
adapted from the Turkish Electricity mix.
2.4. Life Cycle Impact Assessment
Assessments and comparing operations in the system are done by using software
entitled with SimapRO 8.0.1 Greenhouse Gas Protocol method. The characterization
factors per substance are identical to the IPCC 2007 GWP (100a) method in SimaPro.
The only difference is that carbon uptake and biogenic carbon emissions are included
in this method and a distinction is made between (Goedkoop et al, 2006):
1. Fossil based carbon (carbon orginating from fossil fuels)
2. Biogenic carbon (carbon orginating from biogenic sources such as plants and
3. Carbon from land transformation (direct impacts)
Transport of Raw Materials
Transport of Products
(İstanbul-Sakarya: 154 km)
Transport of Filling Station
(Sakarya-İzmir: 502 km)
Transport of Customer
Transport of Landfill
(İzmir-İzmir landfill:22 km)
Transport of Incineration
4. Carbon uptake (CO2 that is in plants and trees as they grow)
3. RESULT & DISCUSSION
The selected life cycle environmental impact method Greenhouse Gas Protocol, was
used to evaluted carbon footprint of the system. The overall system was investigated
in the view of fossil based carbon, biogenic carbon, carbon from land transformation
and carbon uptake.
If we analyze our results, shown in Table 1, it was observed that highest carbon
footprint was fossil based and plants and trees had lowest carbon footprint. The
characterization result was shown in table 1.
Table 1: The characterization results for production, disposal stages
Fossil CO2 eq
kg CO2 eq
Biogenic CO2 eq
kg CO2 eq
CO2 eq from land
kg CO2 eq
CO2 eq uptake
kg CO2 eq
kg CO2 eq
Production and disposal phases of PET bottles showed that production phase has
more impact on environment rather than the disposal phase. Hence giving us the idea
that even product of plastic bottles are unhealthy for our environment. On the other
hand disposal of plastic bottles in the form of landfill is proved to be less hazardous
and with less total carbon footprint. These result was shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: LCA Process of Different Waste Disposal Scenarios
At the same time obtained results were carefully analyzed by using a different carbon
footprint program, namely: IPPC (100 a) just to enhance the accuracy of results. ICPP
also proved that PET bottles production carbon footprint was far more than the PET
bottle disposal. In addition, the case with the landfill disposal method which is observed
to be less carbon footprint producing method.
In this study, LCA of a PET bottle was analysed along with its carbon footprint. Carefull
analysis indicates that the production unit of PET bottle is the reason of increased
carbon emissions contrary to the end phase i.e. disposal through landfill. As it is clear
the one of the carbon footprint of global warming is carbondioxide (CO2) that leads
towards climate change, therefore increasing sea level and list goes on.
The production of PET bottles are associated with the emissions of many gases carbon
dioxide CO2 and methane (CH4) are worth mentioning as both are reasons for global
temperature increase. Depending on this fact, it can be estimated that one 33cl PET
bottle involves 0.431 kg of carbon footprint. According to the Turkish cumultative gas
emission figures, 5.1 tons of CO2eq was generated in the year of 2001 which is 0.4 %
of total global greenhouse gas emissions (URL-1). The Akdeniz region is supposed to
be affected by such gaseous emissions to great extent amoung other regions of Turkey
(IPCC). Because of this fact ministry of environment and urban development is
seriously looking into this topic and increased the pace of many projects. Because they
are aware that even the very little plastic bottle has a big impact on global carbon
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