The National Association for PET Container Resources, the trade association for the PET packaging industry in the U.S. and Canada, calls for greater transparency with respect to the use of Life Cycle Inventories and Life Cycle Assessments as tools for the comparison of the environmental impacts of packaging.
In support of this call for transparency, NAPCOR has formally requested more information and data from Owens-Illinois Inc. in support of the Perrysburg, Ohio-based company's recent “Complete Life Cycle Assessment” report, as well as the related statements made in articles earlier this year and on the O-I website.
This information and data was requested to help address NAPCOR's general concerns about the O-I study. Concerns include:
* The O-I study only covers carbon emissions, yet claims to be the first complete life-cycle assessment. A complete LCA covers all phases of the product's life cycle and covers all significant environmental impacts.
* ISO guidelines are quoted for the definition of life cycle, but to our knowledge, the study does not follow the ISO guidelines, although it appears to do so due to the inclusion of this statement and other references to ISO guidelines.
* We are unable to reproduce the calculations regarding PET bottles with current publicly available data, and the specific source of the data was not provided. NAPCOR seeks a fair playing field with respect to use of LCI data and LCAs.
We accept that every life-cycle study has a scope and may focus more closely on certain aspects of that scope; however, to publish results of a study without more transparency diminishes the value of life-cycle studies in general. If a study is not made public, it's important for its sponsors to at least provide enough information and transparency to enable others to establish context for the results and understand any assumptions made.
There are peer-reviewed and publicly available PET LCIs that provide data to the U.S. Life Cycle Inventory Database, including the LCI of nine plastic resins that provides production data from raw-material extraction to resin production, and other LCI studies such as “Three Single-Serving Soft Drink Containers,” released in 2009, and “Life Cycle Inventory of Container Systems for Wine,” released in 2006.
Both of these studies look at the complete life cycle — raw-material extraction to end-of-life management for the container — and provide current publicly available data for use in LCA studies. The O-I results are not consistent with available data for PET. Furthermore, generally accepted and published glass data for North America, which has been promised from the glass industry for some time now, is not publicly available.
NAPCOR challenges the glass industry and O-I to make that data public and has requested that O-I provide the following information regarding its study:
* All data used to produce the PET package calculations, so the industry can understand the inconsistencies between the O-I study and recently published and peer-reviewed studies of PET.
* Verification that the O-I study was peer reviewed and the study follows the data-quality requirements to support a comparative assertion disclosed to the public listed in ISO 14040 guidelines, section 184.108.40.206.
Also, if the O-I study covered the other significant environmental impacts in order to make it a complete life-cycle assessment, those results should be released.
NAPCOR takes exception to the claims published by Owens-Illinois and respectfully requests that O-I cease making incorrect statements about PET, including the PET data in the O-I study, at least until the company has made the calculations and source data public.