This study, along with the Association of Plastic Recyclers’ 2018 analysis of recycled resins (both conducted by Franklin Associates, a division of ERG) provides the data to compare energy requirements, solid waste generation, and environmental emissions for the processes involved in manufacturing virgin PET material and those required to collect, sort, and reprocess postconsumer PET packaging into clean recycled resin.
Using the comparative findings from these recent LCAs, an infographic and calculator tool were created by NAPCOR to illustrate the comparative impacts of virgin PET (VPET) and RPET. A reduction of 60% in greenhouse gas emissions may be achieved by replacing a unit of VPET with RPET. When using RPET in place of VPET, a 75% lower total energy demand may be achieved, and 40% less process and transportation energy is expended.
The NAPCOR infographic provides a high-level summary of environmental benefits resulting from PET recycling in the US and Canada, while the calculator allows the user to generate an environmental report for a user-specified weight of PET and percentage of recycled content.