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Life cycle assessment of different reuse percentages for glass beer bottles

  • Teresa M. Mata
  • Carlos A. V. Costa
LCA Case Studies

Abstract

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is increasingly becoming an important tool for ecological evaluation of products or processes. In this study the environmental impacts associated with the returnable and the non-returnable glass beer bottles were assessed in order to compare different reuse percentages. The inventory analysis is performed with data obtained from two Portuguese companies (a glass bottles producer and a brewery) and completed with the BUWAL database. It includes all operations associated with the bottles’ manufacture, the brewery and the wastewater treatment plant. The environmental impact assessment considers both the potential ecological and ecotoxicological effects of the emissions. The environmental impact categories included and discussed in this study are the contribution to ecological and human health, global warming, stratospheric ozone depletion, acidification, eutrophication and photochemical ozone creation. The first category is divided into three subcategories that are human toxicity, critical air volume and critical water volume. This study was performed for several reuse percentages and returnable bottle cycles, and is comprised of a sensitivity analysis. The general output is that the relative importance of the impacts associated with the use of returnable and/or non-returnable bottles depends on the number of cycles performed by the returnable bottles. According to the impact index defined in this study, the most significant impacts are the eutrophication and the final solid wastes generated, and the least significant impact is the ozone depletion.

Keywords

Environmental impacts glass bottles impact index life cycle assessment LCA reuse recycling 

Nomenclature

Ac

acidification

AP

acidification potential

ca

critical concentration in the air

Cj

combined contribution to human toxicity

cw

critical concentration in the water

E

mass of the emission

Eu

eutrophication

EP

eutrophication potential

ea

emission to air

ew

emission to water

FSW

final solid waste

GW

global warming

GWP

global warming potential

HCA

weighting factor for air emissions

HCW

weighting factor for water emissions

HCS

weighting factor for soil emissions

HT

human toxicity

ln

impact index

Msw

mass of solid wastes

OD

ozone depletion

ODP

ozone depletion potential

POC

photochemical ozone creation

POCP

photochemical ozone creation potential

Va

critical air volume

Vw

critical water volume

Subscripts

i

substance emitted

j

chemical emitted

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Copyright information

© Ecomed Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LEP/E – Laboratory of Processes, Environment and Energy Engineering, Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal

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