Austin, Texas — With plastics continuing to come under attack, the PET industry needs to do a better job at highlighting the advantages of using the material, according to one longtime packaging maker and recycler.
That's why the National Association for PET Container Resources is putting the finishing touches on a new life cycle analysis that does just that, NAPCOR Chairman Tom Busard said at the recent Packaging Conference in Austin.
New, but still preliminary, data shows that PET has made improvements in some key environmental metrics since the last LCA was undertaken by the trade group 13 years ago.
Much has changed since 2009, when the last NAPCOR LCA was performed, Busard told the conference crowd.
NAPCOR has been working on an update for two years with the help of consulting firm Franklin Associates.
"The peer review is not done yet. These are all preliminary results. But we don't expect them to change much," Busard said.
Updated LCA numbers show a 20-ounce PET bottle, selected because of its popularity, accounts for 18 percent less greenhouse gas, 24 percent less energy and 31 percent less solid waste than the numbers in the 2009 LCA, he said.
LCA data is in high demand from companies using PET bottles for their products as other substrates such as metal and paper increasingly look to take market share from PET.
"We have no time to waste on these things. We need to get the data out quickly," Busard said. "The point is everybody is struggling on how to have a better story."
Busard's day job is vice president of global procurement for Plastipak Packaging Inc. of Plymouth, Mich., and president of the company's Clean Tech Inc. recycling division.