A new study has shown that six major categories of plastic packaging are better at saving energy and reducing emissions compared to alternative packaging materials.
The research was undertaken by Franklin Associates for the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association and looked at plastics used for caps and closures, beverage containers, other rigid containers, carrier bags, plastic films and other flexible packaging.
It found that compared to materials such as aluminium, paper and board and glass, plastic was environmentally better over its lifecycle.
In the baseline year of 2010, the study found that replacing plastic packaging with non-plastic alternatives in the United States alone would require 4.5 times as much packaging material by weight. It would also increase energy usage by 80 per cent and result in 130 per cent global warming potential.
ACC plastic division vice president Steve Russell said: “We all know that plastic packaging plays a critical role in protecting and preserving everything from groceries to high-end electronics. This study demonstrates that plastic packaging also makes a significant contribution to sustainability by dramatically reducing energy use and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.”
View the full study here