All About Beverage Container Waste

Energy Impacts of Replacing Beverage Containers Wasted in 2005 (estimated)

 
Container Type Energy Per Ton Wasted
(MBtu) (a)
Containers Wasted, 2005 (b) Energy Wasted Due to "Replacement Production" (c)
Units (billion) Tons (million) Barrels of Crude Oil Equivalent (million) Households' Total Annual Energy Needs Met (million)
Aluminum cans 206.9 55.0 0.8 29.0 1.5
#1 PET plastic bottles 53.4 43.6 1.5 14.3 0.3
#2 HDPE plastic bottles 51.4 6.8 0.4 3.7 0.1
Glass bottles 2.7 28.8 6.9 3.2 0.1
Total n/a 134.1 9.6 50.2 2.0

(a) Million British Thermal Units (MBtu) per ton of "replacement" containers; ie., the difference in energy required to make 1 ton of containers from 100% virgin materials vs. 100% recycled materials. Source for per ton energy requirements: "Waste Management and Energy Savings: Benefits by the Numbers." Choate, Ferland et. al., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC, October 2005.

(b) Aluminum can data based on data from the Aluminum Association and the U.S. Department of Commerce; plastic and glass data is estimated using data from prior years from the Glass Packaging Institute, the U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste, the American Plastics Council, and the National Association of PET Container Resources.

(c) Factors used: 5.78 MBtu/barrel crude oil; Avg. annual residential energy use: 94.6 Mbtu/household. Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, “A Look at Residential Energy Consumption in 2001.” www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/consumption.

© Container Recycling Institute, 2006

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