The packaging problem
Packaging waste is a huge and growing problem for modern society, with efficient 'green' disposal of plastic waste a particular issue.
Every day the UK throws away an estimated 15 million plastic bottles. While recycling rates are increasing they are still a long way away from 100%, and if plastic is not recycled it will soon find its way to landfill. Once there, because plastic does not biodegrade, it will persist for hundreds of years. Disposal of laminated cartons, the other predominant form of packaging for liquid consumer products, faces similar problems.
GreenBottle was formed to tackle the environmental issues associated with the manufacture and subsequent disposal of plastic bottles and laminated cartons.
Made from a non renewable resource. Have a high carbon footprint - the carbon footprint of a PET bottle is approximately 4.4 times that of an equivalent GreenBottle. Approximately 50% of PET bottles are recycled across Europe (Wikipedia) so the rest are either incinerated or go to landfill . About 22% of recycled PET goes back into plastic bottles (PTI/Petcore). In just a few cycles all the PET will be incinerated or landfilled.
The carbon footprint of laminated cartons is about 1.3 times greater than the equivalent GreenBottle. The big problem with laminated cartons is that they require specific recycling facilities. This requires a separate recycling stream (not very appealing in the kerb side collection system) and transportation to the dedicated plant. Across Europe only 36% of laminated cartons are recycled (The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment - 2011). The remainder are burnt or landfilled.
We tend to believe that glass bottles are the most environmentally friendly form of liquid packaging, however transporting large quantities of heavy glass bottles dramatically increases their carbon footprint. According to the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) the UK buys in around 1.2 billion glass bottles a year, generating CO2 emissions during transportation and contributing more than 630,000 tonnes of glass to the UK waste stream, around 40% of which is disposed of as household waste. GreenBottle has 10% the carbon footprint of a regular glass wine bottle, and at 55g, weighs in at just over a tenth of the weight of a regular glass wine bottle.