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Briefing paper

Towards sustainable packaging materials

Examining the relative impact of materials in the natural source water and soft drinks value chain
Recycling Environmental impacts Manufacturing Waste management Food packaging Waste minimization
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Towards sustainable packaging materials 4.25 MB

While addressing the issue of plastic packaging waste has never seemed so urgent, it is important for businesses to take a considered approach to their packaging material decision-making.

In eliminating plastic packaging waste from UK natural source water and soft drinks, one option would be to switch materials, and there are instances of this already occurring. However, in making this shift, businesses need to ensure they understand the full impacts of any alternative, so they do not create or worsen other environmental consequences.

Through this report, the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) examined the relative impact of natural source water and soft drinks packaging materials (plastic bottles, aluminium cans, glass bottles and multi-material cartons) based on the data currently available. The metrics examined were those identified by the businesses supporting this work as most critical to business targets: water usage, carbon emissions and circularity (recycling rates and percentage of recycled content used in production of beverage containers).

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