European Commission | Environmental and Socioeconomic Impacts of Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) Packaging Management Strategies in the EU


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ABSTRACT - Plastics are a challenge for the circular economy due to their overall low recycling rate and high dependency on primary resources. This study analyzes the EU demand for poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) packaging from 2020 to 2030 and quantifies the potential environmental and societal savings by changing the waste management and consumption patterns compared with business-as-usual practices. The results of the life-cycle assessment and life-cycle costing show that a maximum of 38 Mt of CO2-eq and 34 kt of PM2.5-eq could be saved with a more efficient waste management system and a robust secondary material market while also avoiding 8.3 billion EUR2019 in societal costs (cumulative 2020−2030). However, limiting annual PET consumption growth appears to have a similar profound effect on improving the
efficiency of waste management systems: 35 Mt of CO2-eq, 31 kt of PM2.5-eq, and 25 billion MEUR2019 societal costs could be saved, simply by keeping EU consumption of PET constant.

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