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Environmental impacts from PET packaging waste management using Life Cycle Assessment: A case study in China

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4 Author(s)
Ming-hui Xie ; Key Lab. of Eco-Ind. of the Minist. of Environ. Protection, Chinese Res. Acad. of Environ. Sci., Beijing, China ; Qi Qiao ; Qi-hong Sun ; Lin-lin Zhang

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was induced to examine the environmental impacts in the life cycle of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) package of milk, and to compare the environmental impacts from different treatments in China in this article. The data of the mass and energy fluxes and the environmental emissions were obtained from sites investigation and literatures. It showed that the environmental impacts from raw materials supply period was the highest, over 79% of total environmental impacts in its life cycle except waste management. The environmental impacts mainly came from Fossil Fuels and Respiratory Inorganics. In the comparison of landfill, incineration and recycling of PET package, the environmental impact in landfill treatment was the highest, and then was incineration and recycle which were beneficial effects on environment. Incineration can avoid environmental impact of Respiratory Inorganics category and recycling can avoid Fossil Fuels category more significantly. Compared to the environmental impacts before PET package come into waste management, landfill could append 3.5% additional environmental impacts and incineration could reduce 22.2%. In contrast, recycling could reduce 61.7% of environmental impacts more significantly. Sensitivity analysis confirmed the robustness of the results. LCA methodology was very suitable for evaluating the overall environmental consequences, and could be used for decision support and strategic planning in China where pollution control has become increasingly important with the rapid increase of waste generation as well as the increasing public awareness of environmental protection.

Published in:

Water Resource and Environmental Protection (ISWREP), 2011 International Symposium on  (Volume:4 )

Date of Conference:

20-22 May 2011