Emission Saving

A Comparative Analysis of Carbon Emissions: PET vs. PLA Bottles

PLA Bottles Emissions Saving of 49% - 65% in Total (compared with PET Bottles Emissions)


In recent years, there has been a growing interest in finding more sustainable alternatives to traditional PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles and we aim to compare these with our alternative PLA (polylactic acid) bottles.  This article aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the carbon emissions associated with the production and use of both PET and PLA bottles, considering various scenarios and factors.  By understanding the environmental impact of both these materials, we can make informed decisions regarding their usage and work towards a greener future.

Resin Manufacture:

The production of the resin, which is the primary material used in bottle manufacturing, contributes significantly to the carbon emissions associated with both PET and PLA bottles.  PET production emits around 1800 kg CO2, whereas PLA production emits approximately 1000 kg CO2.  This data indicates that PLA production is more environmentally friendly in terms of carbon emissions during the resin manufacturing process.

Bottle Blowing Process:

The bottle blowing process is another crucial stage that contributes to the overall carbon footprint of PET and PLA bottles.  PET bottles require around 1600 kg CO2 emissions during this process, while PLA bottles require only 300 kg CO2 emissions.  This significant difference suggests that PLA bottles have a clear advantage over PET bottles when considering emissions generated during bottle blowing.


Both PET and PLA bottles have similar transportation-related emissions.  Currently, PLA bottles are predominantly manufactured in the USA and Thailand, leading to increased emissions due to longer transportation distances.  As the market for PLA becomes more developed and production facilities are established in various regions, these emissions are expected to diminish.  Therefore, it is crucial to consider the evolving landscape of PLA production when evaluating its transportation emissions.

Waste Management:

The carbon emissions associated with waste management play a significant role in the overall environmental impact of plastic bottles.  PET bottles produce around 2200 kg CO2 emissions during the waste management process, primarily due to their slow decomposition rate and challenges in recycling.  In contrast, PLA bottles offer a potential advantage, especially in a best-case scenario.  If PLA bottles were effectively composted, their waste management emissions could be reduced to zero, providing significant carbon savings compared with PET bottles.


In the most likely case scenario, where PLA requires the same waste management resources as PET, the carbon emissions savings of PLA bottles amount to approximately 49%.  This saving is primarily attributed to the reduced emissions in the manufacturing process, both for the resin and bottle blowing.  However, it is important to note that there are higher emissions from transport due to limited manufacturing locations of PLA bottles.

In the best-case scenario, where PLA bottles are properly composted and waste management emissions are eliminated, the carbon savings can reach up to approximately 65% compared to PET bottles. This emphasises the potential environmental benefits of PLA bottles in a perfect waste management system.


The analysis presented here underscores the importance of considering various factors when assessing the carbon emissions associated with PET and PLA bottles.  While PLA bottles show promising environmental advantages in terms of manufacturing and bottle blowing emissions, the impact of transportation emissions and waste management should not be overlooked.  As the market for PLA bottles continues to develop, with manufacturing facilities established in more regions, transportation emissions are expected to decrease.

Additionally, efficient waste management systems that prioritise composting can significantly enhance the carbon savings offered by PLA bottles.  By carefully evaluating the entire lifecycle of these materials, we can make informed decisions on how to reduce our environmental footprint and foster a more sustainable future for plastic bottle production.