Federal Environment Agency confirms ecological advantages of beverage cartons. Clearly superior to all other packaging in terms of climate protection.

The positive ecological assessment of the beverage carton by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) remains unchanged.

Ecological advantages of beverage cartons
© FKN Fachverband Kartonverpackungen
Source:  Company news

After examining an updated life cycle assessment by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Heidelberg (IFEU), the UBA comes to the conclusion that the beverage carton performs no worse than the reusable bottle for fruit juices - and even better for milk.

In the process, the criticism of the "Reusable Alliance" about allegedly too high CO2 and recycling credits was also to be addressed.

Carton and reusable better than plastic for milk and juice

"The results are not surprising," explains FKN Managing Director Michael Kleene: "They confirm the findings of all life cycle assessments of the last 20 years. Beverage cartons have clear advantages, particularly in terms of climate impact. This applies both in comparison to single-use plastic bottles and to reusable systems. Reusable is not always and in all beverage segments the only ecologically advantageous solution."

The study provides deep insights into the current state of the scientific debate and shows where the strengths and weaknesses of the individual packages lie and where they can be optimized. One fundamental finding is that the public focus on high recycling rates often leads to the wrong conclusions: "Recycling alone does not make packaging ecologically advantageous," explains Kleene. A plastic bottle in the deposit system still performs worse than reusable bottles and beverage cartons even if recyclates are used. At least as important as more and better recycling, therefore, is offering packaging that uses as few fossil resources as possible during production and thus contributes to the goal of a low-carbon economy. Manufacturers of beverage cartons have announced that by 2030 at the latest they will only offer packaging throughout Europe that is made entirely from renewable or recycled raw materials.

Reusable containers must also become more environmentally friendly

Addressing the reusable packaging lobby, Kleene says: "To portray the beverage carton as a climate killer is demonstrably wrong. Apart from that, there are still plenty of problems with reusable containers. Just think of the issues of distribution, individual containers and circulation figures." For example, the general statement that refillable bottles are refilled "up to 50 times" is grossly misleading. A specialist report by the IFEU Institute in cooperation with the Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung (GVM) (Society for Packaging Market Research) proves that milk bottles are recycled just 10 times. According to the authors, there is "no question of a functioning reusable pool."

LINK to the IFEU study: https://www.getraenkekarton.de/oekobilanz/

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