Aseptic packaging sustainability: Vol. 2 – the Global Warming Potential

Aseptic packaging sustainability: Vol. 2 – the Global Warming Potential

In the first episode of our brand-new series “Aseptic packaging sustainability”, we talked about the role of packaging in driving climate action to protect the environment and reduce its own impact – looking for the most-likely scenario in which packaging will finally play a climate-neutral part.

In part two, we dive further into the advantages of long-life, aseptic cartons by having a look at what is commonly known in the research community as GWP.

Short for Global Warming Potential, GWP is an indicator that basically allows for a direct and straightforward comparison between different gases, measuring the related climate impact in the atmosphere.

More specifically, by estimating the amount of energy absorbed by 1 ton of a generic gas over a given period of time and comparing it to the emissions of 1 ton of carbon dioxide (CO2), GWP is able to tell us how detrimental to the environment that gas can potentially be.

Now, as it has already been said, 1 ton of CO2 is considered the baseline, with a GWP equal to 1. This means that, the larger other gases GWPs are, the more they warm the Earth compared to the same amount of carbon dioxide.

Let’s put it in a nutshell: the larger GWP is, the worse the infamous greenhouse effect gets.

The GWP of beverage packaging: a comparative analysis

As already explained in the previous episode of our brand-new series, when it comes to packaging, it is safe to say that it can actively affect climate breakdown – or help fight it, it really depends on one’s take -.

The fact is, regardless of this and of any climate neutrality claim, products of any kind – packaging too, of course – are somehow usually linked to global warming, for their manufacturing process necessarily leads to gas emissions coming from resources consuming and fuels burning dynamics.

A team of researchers at FH Campus Wien – University of Applied Sciences conducted a meta-analysis on that, taking into account GWPs in already existing LCA studies – short for Life Cycle Assessment, a data-driven methodology that measures a product’s environmental impact over its entire life cycle, taking into account a wide group of interconnected factor.

FH Campus Wien circular analytics ended up showing that, on average, beverage cartons yield significantly better results than PET and single-use glass bottles when it comes to their emissions impact on the environment.

Statistically speaking, it is safe to say that on average their GWP is respectively 47% and 80% smaller compared to single-use PET and glass bottles, meaning that less energy will be released into the atmosphere, leading to less warming and causing less damage.


Long-life cartons and more specifically shelf-stable bricks are then a responsible choice to protect and preserve the environment, having a much lower carbon footprint impact thanks to major production, logistics and conservation advantages.

In part three of our brand-new series we will move the discussion forward and dive into the advantages of going aseptic by having a look at the so called “net plastic content”, that is the overall amount of plastic contained in each type of packaging.

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We believe packaging can do more. Are you ready to take a step towards a greener future?

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