New data has shown that, between 2000 and 2014, the average weight of a 0.5 litre single-serve PET water bottle was reduced by more than 50%, resulting in savings of 6.2bn lbs of PET resin since the turn of the century.
The National Association for PET Container Resources noted that producing new products from recycled PET (rPET) uses two-thirds less energy than is required to make products from raw virgin materials. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, helping the sector to significantly reduce its environmental footprint.
Additional savings of virgin PET can be attributed to increasing use of rPET in bottled water containers: the figures show that, between 2008 and 2014, the use of rPET in bottled water packaging increased by 17.5% to 21%. Last year alone, rPET use increased by 8%. For companies that use rPET, the average rPET content is 20% per container.
The data was compiled by Virginia, US-based Beverage Marketing Corporation on behalf of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA).
IBWA vice-president of communications Chris Hogan said: “While more and more consumers choose bottled water instead of less healthy packaged drinks, our industry continues its efforts to reduce our environmental footprint. In fact, PET plastic bottled water bottles use less plastic than any other packaged beverage.
“From an environmental standpoint, when people choose bottled water instead of any other canned or bottled beverage, they are choosing less packaging, less energy consumption, and less use of natural resources. What’s more, recycling the bottle can cut that impact by an additional 50%, if it is re-used to replace virgin PET plastic.
To encourage a comprehensive approach to effective recycling, IBWA developed its Material Recovery Program (MRP), a collaborative joint venture between businesses and government. The MRP supports the development of new, comprehensive solutions to help manage solid waste in US communities by having all consumer product companies, including bottled water, work together with state and local governments to improve recycling and waste education and collection efforts for all packaged goods.
According to Hogan, ensuring the sustainability of water resources is just as important an issue for the sector as increasing the extent to which its plastic packaging is recycled.
Hogan continued: “Environmental stewardship is part of the bottled water industry’s history, and protecting, maintaining, and preserving water resources for future generations is something we take very seriously. In fact, when it comes to overall water use, the bottled water industry is actually a small and efficient water user. Bottled water uses only 0.01% of all water used annually in the United States.”
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