Plant-based bottles (PLA) vs. PET Bottles – Cradle-to-gate LCA and Implications

plant-based bottles product flow

introduction: plant-based bottles vs. PET Bottles

The global production of plastics exceeded 300 million tons in 2013 [1]. A significant share of these plastics turns to solid waste and cause disposal problems since they are mostly non-degradable in the natural environment [1,2]. The disposal problem, jointly with other environmental concerns associated with petroleum-based plastics, has raised the demand for bio-based polymers [3]. Polylactide (PLA), with an annual production of over 180,000 tons [4], is one of the big drivers of the advances of bio-based polymers (BPs) on the market. PLA is biodegradable thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch, cassava, or sugarcane [5-9], and can be used to alleviate the waste disposal problem [10]. It is also one of the most versatile materials and – in contrast to most other available BPs – is also suitable for more sophisticated applications like beverage and food packaging [5]. It has been showing that PLA can successfully replace polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in the production of clamshell containers, trays, and bottles [5,11,12]. PLA is often considered to be more environmentally friendly compared to its petroleum-based counterparts due to its biodegradability and renewability of raw materials used for its production. Nevertheless, the production of PLA also requires non-renewable energy sources. Fossil fuel is used to power farm machinery, produce fertilizers and pesticides, transport crops and crop products to processing plants, process raw materials, and ultimately produce the PLA granules. Therefore, to comprehensively evaluate the environmental profile of bio-based products it is paramount to carry out a life-cycle-based study, as being bio-based is not sufficient to be considered environmentally friendly [7]. The link below will guide you to the full rapport of comparing plant-based bottles vs PET bottles. 

Plant-based bottles vs. PET Bottles

The study compares the environmental impacts of 500 ml water bottles produced from corn-based polylactide – Poly lactic acid (plant-based bottles) and PET. The results of cradle-to-bottle factory gate assessment revealed that the usage of PLA granules instead of PET granules would reduce the net global warming potential and cumulative non-renewable energy demand of bottles by 30.9% and 32%, respectively. However, if no credits are given for atmospheric CO2 fixed by corn, and the energy in corn-feedstock is accounted for, the advantages of PLA would be largely diminished.

PLA non renewable MJ
new land use PLA

Extra information - regarding our own PLANT-BASED BOTTLES

PLA bottles: Carbohydrate yield per hectare PLA feedstock

Our plant-based bottles are not made from Corn. The feedstock that we use for our PLA is sugar cane or sugar beet. 

PLA made from sugar cane/beet has a much higher carbohydrate yield per ton/Ha than any other crop used for the production of PLA. So there is less material needed for the same amount of end product.

Besides this benefit all of our PLA is NON-GMO. We make sure our plant-based bottles are as close to mother nature as possible. 

Let's change the world.Use plant-based plastic

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