UBA approval of German LCA

The German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has confirmed the ecological advantages of the beverage carton.

After reviewing the updated life cycle assessment by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg (IFEU), the UBA has confirmed Elopak’s long-standing conviction: that the beverage carton performs just as well as the returnable glass bottle for fruit juices, and even better for milk.

We are convinced that this latest life cycle assessment contributes significantly to greater objectivity and transparency, as it’s the first to meet the minimum assessment requirements defined by the UBA for beverage packaging. This means the door is wide open for genuine ecological comparability of different packaging systems beyond ideological debates.

The Federal Environment Agency welcomes the fact that the manufacturers of beverage cartons, through the FKN as an association, have taken their responsibility seriously and had their own packaging systems compared to the usual alternatives in a life cycle assessment.

UBA assessment of the “FKN Life Cycle Assessment 2020, August 2021

Key findings of the final report “Life cycle assessment of composite beverage cartons in Germany in the beverage segments juices and nectars, as well as UHT milk and fresh milk (IFEU, October 2020)”:

  • The beverage carton performs very well in the 2020 FKN life cycle assessment. The beverage carton shows significant advantages over the PET disposable bottle in all segments examined.
  • In the beverage segment for juices and nectars, no overall ecological advantage or disadvantage to the 1-liter returnable glass bottles can be determined.
  • In the fresh milk beverage segment, the beverage carton has advantages over the 1-liter returnable glass bottle.
  • The beverage carton is a highly optimized package. It performs well in terms of filling processes, distribution, and disposal.
  • The average returnable systems in the milk sector, and for juices and nectars, have a high potential for optimization.
  • Recycling alone does not make for ecologically advantageous packaging.

These quality features distinguish the FKN life cycle assessment:

  • It is the first to have been conducted in accordance with the “Minimum Requirements for Future Life Cycle Assessments” (UBA Texts 19/2016).
  • The Federal Environment Agency developed these minimum requirements to make the results of different life cycle assessment studies comparable.
  • The life cycle assessment follows the relevant assessment standards ISO 14040 and 14044.