Life Cycle Assessment of Polyethylene Terephthalate Packaging: An Overview

  • Thiago S. GomesEmail author
  • Leila L. Y. Visconte
  • Elen B. A. V. Pacheco


Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a common technique to evaluate the environmental impact of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) packaging. A review is needed to gain a clear view of the accumulated knowledge, scientific trends and what remains to be done. The main purpose of this paper is to present an overview of LCA of PET, mainly for packaging. LCA studies of PET consist largely of two segments: final destination of post-consumer PET, comparing recycling with other options (incineration, landfilling); and alternative materials, comparing PET with other polymers or materials such as glass and aluminum cans. In the first case, the scenarios most often compared have been landfill disposal and mechanical recycling. There has also been considerable research on the use of post-consumer PET for energy conversion and chemical recycling. In the second case, the main polymer compared with PET is poly(lactic acid), whose mechanical properties make it unsuitable for carbonated beverage bottles. Numerous articles have focused only on energy consumption or global warming potential. Few studies have discussed mechanical recycling technologies in LCA and there is a lack of data on the processes used in developing countries. This review highlights the need to conduct LCA studies of PET, since many aspects are still not fully understood.


Poly(ethylene terephthalate) PET Life cycle assessment Recycling Environmental impact 



We thank the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) and the National Research Council (CNPq).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Macromoléculas Professora Eloisa ManoUniversidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Escola Politécnica/Programa de Engenharia AmbientalUniversidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

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