One of the most beloved condiments has been evolving over the last few years to perfect its packaging and reduce its environmental impact. Glenroy, Inc and the Flexible Packaging Association partnered to perform a life cycle assessment of the packaging used for ketchup: the new STANDCAP Pouch vs. the rigid PET bottle.
This Life Cycle Assessment evaluates the two forms of packaging in relation to water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel consumption, source reduction benefits and recovery benefits.
The premade flexible STANDCAP Pouch uses approximately three quarters less water (-75.3%) than the rigid container. PET bottles require a more water-intensive stretch blow molding process as compared to the laminating and extrusion process for multilayer pouches.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The manufacturing of the PET bottle produces 58.8% more emissions than the flexible, inverted pouch. The high rate of emissions can be attributed to the additional energy and heat needed during the stretch blow molding process for the bottle.
Fossil Fuel Consumption
The premade STANDCAP Pouch results in 52.7% lower fossil fuel use because it takes less material to produce than the PET bottle. Additionally, the stretch blow molding for the bottle manufacturing process uses more fossil fuel than the pouch’s laminating and extruding process.
Source Reduction Benefits
According to the U.S. EPA Waste Hierarchy, the most preferred method for waste management is source reduction and reuse. A major benefit of flexible packaging is the high product-to-package ratio that it offers.
While many multi-material flexible packages are not yet widely recovered and recycled, they still reduce a substantial amount of material sent to landfills versus other types of packaging. The PET bottle results in about 40% more material landfilled, which is notable considering its 29.2% recycling rate and the lack of any credit for the flexible pouch recycling.
The premade STANDCAP Pouch results in lower environmental impacts across a wide range of metrics as shown above. This is driven by the efficient material usage of the flexible pouch, which uses less than half the amount of material needed to package the same amount of ketchup.