In the attempt to provide a better understanding of the environmental impacts of this sector, it was evaluated with a life cycle approach the environmental performance associated with the distribution of water in PET bottles in the Horeca sector of the Lombardy region. The results suggest that the life cycle of the PET bottle and the transportation from the bottling plant to the local distributor are the major ‘hot spot’ for all the analyzed impact categories. For having a better environmental performance in the analyzed system it is thus recommended to: replace virgin PET granulate by recycled PET in the bottle (up to 50% by weight), upgrade the full fleet of trucks used in the transportation, and have a local market distribution (within 300 km). The second part of this study was focused on the comparison between the use of one-way PET bottles and refillable glass bottles. According to obtained results, the refilling system based on glass can represent a valid alternative only when characterized by short distances separating bottling facilities and local distribution. A further recommendation is also to assure that glass bottles are used at least 25 times before disposal.
Viviana Grisales is an environmental engineer with a master from Politecnico di Milano in environmental and land planning engineer. She has worked in the manufacturing sector as well as been part of investigation groups focused on sustainability.
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Edizioni Accademiche Italiane
LCA, Life Cycle Assessment, bottled water, PET, glass, mineral water, environmental impact
TECHNOLOGY / Environmental