The consumption of bottled mineral water in Italy is amongst the highest at the European level. This life cycle assessment (LCA) aims to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with the distribution of mineral water in the Italian hospitality industry, that is less investigated than the domestic consumption in the existing literature. The use of traditional one-way PolyEthylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles of small format (0.5 L) was compared with the alternative system of refillable, 1 L, glass bottles. Primary inventory data were collected to describe the system. The evaluation considered 14 impact indicators calculated according to the Environmental Footprint method. LCA results support the replacement of plastic with glass containers in the hospitality industry only in the best conditions for the glass bottles (more than 25 uses and a local distribution) and simultaneously in the worst situation for PET (bottles of small format and 100% from virgin granulate). When a recycled PET bottle is considered, results become heavily in favour of the single-use PET system. The following recommendations were derived for increasing the environmental sustainability of the distribution of bottled water in the Italian hospitality industry: to move towards a PET bottle closed loop system, in which discarded PET bottles are recycled to produce bottle-grade granules; to promote a progressive light weighting of refillable glass bottles, compatibly with the bottle resistance and to ensure at least 25 reuses before their disposal; to promote the sale of bottled water from local bottling companies (no more than 300 km distance from the final client).

Life cycle assessment of bottled mineral water for the hospitality industry in Northern Italy

Grisales V.;Tua C.;Rigamonti L.
2022

Abstract

The consumption of bottled mineral water in Italy is amongst the highest at the European level. This life cycle assessment (LCA) aims to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with the distribution of mineral water in the Italian hospitality industry, that is less investigated than the domestic consumption in the existing literature. The use of traditional one-way PolyEthylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles of small format (0.5 L) was compared with the alternative system of refillable, 1 L, glass bottles. Primary inventory data were collected to describe the system. The evaluation considered 14 impact indicators calculated according to the Environmental Footprint method. LCA results support the replacement of plastic with glass containers in the hospitality industry only in the best conditions for the glass bottles (more than 25 uses and a local distribution) and simultaneously in the worst situation for PET (bottles of small format and 100% from virgin granulate). When a recycled PET bottle is considered, results become heavily in favour of the single-use PET system. The following recommendations were derived for increasing the environmental sustainability of the distribution of bottled water in the Italian hospitality industry: to move towards a PET bottle closed loop system, in which discarded PET bottles are recycled to produce bottle-grade granules; to promote a progressive light weighting of refillable glass bottles, compatibly with the bottle resistance and to ensure at least 25 reuses before their disposal; to promote the sale of bottled water from local bottling companies (no more than 300 km distance from the final client).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1203431
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