Carbon footprint of soft drinks packaging

This comparative analysis explores the carbon footprint of soft drinks packaging. It includes relative carbon footprint ranges of five different beverage packaging types; one way and refillable PET and glass bottles, and aluminium cans, including a view of a typical European pack.

Soft drinks packaging report cover


This study looks beyond the simple question of which packaging material has the lowest carbon footprint. It considers the various factors affecting the carbon footprint of each alternative to establish the respective footprint ranges and highlight the key drivers to reduce the carbon footprint for each pack type according to specific market circumstances.

Publication date: Dec 2021

Key findings include: 

This study has shown that multiple soft drinks packaging formats can provide low carbon footprint options and the lowest end of the range for all formats, apart from one-way glass, are very similar.

  • The analysis of one-way PET suggests that there is still significant opportunity for reducing the carbon footprint by increasing recycling rates and incorporating recycled content within the manufacturing process
  • Aluminium cans have the largest potential range, the relevant factors in the production of aluminium in Europe (in particular, low carbon electricity) indicate that in some circumstances it could present as one of the lowest carbon options, particularly where return and refill schemes for glass or plastic bottles are not available

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