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Bottle washing analysis

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Introduction

This page is the compilation of a research project in partnership between Engr308 Technology and the Environment and Zero Waste Humboldt (ZWH). The client leads on this project are

  • Margaret Gainer, Zero Waste Humboldt

The objective of this project is to analyze and compare the effects of the impacts of current glass bottles for beer compared to local beer bottle washing, based upon their embedded carbon dioxide emissions and embedded energy.

Findings

Embedded energy in the production of a single Mason jar by source as produced by Mason Jar Analysis.
Embedded energy in the production of a single Mason jar by source as produced by Mason Jar Analysis.

This study of Virgin Bottles, Mixed Bottles, and Washed Bottles compared two metrics: carbon dioxide emissions and embedded energy. It was concluded that the materials used, the transport of, and packaging of a single beer bottle requires 1.33 kilowatt-hours of energy and is responsible for 0.58 kilowatt-hours of carbon dioxide emissions. In comparison, a single mixed bottle is responsible for using 1.26 kilowatt-hours of energy, releasing 0.544 kilowatt-hours of carbon dioxide. A single washed bottle is responsible for using 0.038 kilowatt-hours of energy, releasing 0.016 kilowatt-hours of carbon dioxide emissions.

Virgin Bottles Mixed Bottles Washed Bottles
Embedded Energy (kWh/bottle) 1.33 1.26 0.038
Carbon Dioxide (lbs/bottle) 0.58 0.544 0.016


The calculations and assumptions used to obtain these results can be seen in further detail in the following spreadsheet:

The spreadsheet allows for others interested in performing a similar analysis to easily input values pertaining to their particular study area. It is our hope that with this information and the pre-assembled spreadsheet, other institutions will be able to reach similar compelling conclusions that have the potential to influence future policies.


Virgin Bottles

Embedded energy in the production of a single Mason jar by source as produced by Mason Jar Analysis.
Carbon Dioxide emissions from the production of a single Mason jar by source as produced by Mason Jar Analysis.

The Bottles analyzed in this study were the 12 oz glass bottles. The bottles were produced by a company in Los Angeles, California and then transported to Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. We found that CO2 emissions within a virgin bottle account for materials, transportation, and packaging. Units were measured in kWh per bottle to show the energy it would take to produce a single virgin bottle. A virgin bottle is defined as one that has completely new materials. The total embedded energy is 1.33 kWh/bottle for a virgin bottle. To calculate CO2 emissions, we looked at embedded CO2 emissions of those same processes. All sources can be found through the spreadsheet and come from the California grid mix and PG&E grid mix. For 100,000 bottles ,the Carbon Dioxide Emissions released are 57,810 lb CO2 emissions for a virgin bottle .

Output Embedded Energy Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Materials 1.26 kWh/bottle 0.537 lb CO2/bottle
Transportation 0.064 kWh/bottle 0.038 lb CO2/bottle
Packing 0.007 kWh/bottle 0.003 lb CO2/bottle
Total (1 bottle) 1.33 kWh/bottle 0.578 lb CO2/bottle
Total (all sold bottles) 133,389 kWh 57,810 lb CO2

Mixed Bottles

Embedded energy in the production of a single disposable paper cup by source as produced by Mason Jar Analysis.
Carbon Dioxide emissions from the production of a single disposable paper cup by source as produced by Mason Jar Analysis.

The recycled bottles analyzed in this study were the 12oz amber glass bottles from Lost Coast Brewery located in Humboldt County, California. These bottles were produced by the company Saxco based out of Sacramento, California, and were transported to Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. It was estimated that 100% of all the bottles purchased were recycled.

Output Embedded Energy Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Materials 0.91 kWh/bottle 0.368 lb CO2/bottle
Transportation 0.064 kWh/bottle 0.038 lb CO2/bottle
Packing 0.007 kWh/bottle 0.003 lb CO2/bottle
Total (1 bottle) 0.98 kWh/bottle 0.409 lb CO2/bottle
Total (all sold bottles) 97,946 kWh 40,864 lb CO2

Washed Bottles

Embedded energy in the production of a single disposable plastic cup by source as produced by Mason Jar Analysis.
Carbon Dioxide emissions from the production of a single disposable plastic cup by source as produced by Mason Jar Analysis.

The bottles analyzed in this study were the 12 oz amber glass bottles. The cups were produced by the company Saxco based out of Sacramento, California, and were transported to Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. It was estimated that 100% of all the virgin bottles purchased were recycled.

Output Embedded Energy Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Materials 0.036 kWh/bottle 0.015 lb CO2/bottle
Transportation 0.002 kWh/bottle 0.001 lb CO2/bottle
Packing n/a kWh/bottle n/a lb CO2/bottle
Total (1 bottle) 0.038 kWh/bottle 0.016 lb CO2/bottle
Total (all sold bottles) 371 kWh 165 lb CO2

Impacts

Based off the calculations made above for the embedded energy and CO2 emissions, various impacts to Humboldt Counrt can be made. On a per bottle basis at Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe (Sunday through Saturday), it can be assumed that:

  • Virgin Bottles:
  • Mixed Bottles:
  • Washed Bottles:

Comparisons

A number of comparisons have been made by each team which help understand the magnitude of the impacts of the policy change being analyzed in this report. These comparisons are represented as one or two lines of text on a relatable image, and are displayed in the gallery link below.

Research Synthesis

Embedded Energy, CO2 Emissions in Materials

During the Fall of 2019, Humboldt State University chose to support the Zero Waste Humboldt, specializing in providing waste reduction solutions through public education, advocacy, and technical assistance and training [1], to end the use of transporting beer bottles to be recycled and to promote local bottle washing. This project hopes to influence Lost Coast Brewery’s possibility of investing in a bottle washing machine. Students in ENRG 308, kept in contact with Scot, the manager of Lost Coast brewery, to determine factors such as bottle sold, materials, and where shipments go etc. By analyzing the materials used, transportation, and the packaging, we were able to determine embedded energy and carbon dioxide emissions within a virgin, recycled, and washed beer bottle. This type of bottle washing is a common practice in many European countries and our findings show why. The energy used to wash a bottle is far less than a mixed bottle consisting of virgin and recycling materials. This literature review will go over the embedded energy and CO2 emissions of the individual products, the energy, and carbon impact of transporting the products, as well as creating a total energy and carbon dioxide impact of the product once the virgin bottle is bought.

Embodied or embedded energy (EE) is defined as the energy used during the entire life cycle of a product. For example, the EE of a virgin bottle or mixed bottle could include extraction and processing of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, distribution, use, reuse, recycling. Assuming that in all cased disposal is needed, this was kept out. The process of returning a used bottle to Lost Coast Brewery is assumed that it takes no extra transportation. This was a portion of EE calculations for the three bottle types. And if a bottle washing machine was purchased by Lost Coast Brewery, people who drop off bottles would be coming for more than just a drop-off. EE calculations are used to conduct life cycle assessments (LCA). LCA is a well-explored concept and has been used as an environmental management tool since the late 1960’s.[1] LCA provides a tool for evaluating the relative environmental impact of various materials and calculates externalities otherwise excluded from pricing. Our LCA will include emissions and the EE of the materials and shipping.[2]

Some background information:

Embedded Energy and CO2 Emissions in materials

Embedded Energy and CO2 emissions of Virgin Bottle Material

Material Embedded Energy (kWh/bottle) CO2 Emissions (lb CO2/bottle)
Sand 0.057 0.026
Limestone 0.002 0.001
Feldspar 0.017 0.008
Soda Ash 0.130 0.060
Virgin Melting 0.644 0.295
Total 0.850 0.390

Mixed Bottles and Washed Bottles

-The mixed bottles are made up the Virgin bottle material along with a mixed amount of recycled amber glass material. Here are the materials broken down:

  • Sand: 70% of a new bottle is made up of sand
  • Soda Ash: Around 2% of soda ash is used in creating a bottle. Soda ash plays a vital role to reduce the furnace temperature necessary to melt the silica used. This reduces the energy required to produce the glass.
  • Feldspar: Each bottle is about 8% feldspar
  • Limestone: Each bottle is about 15% Limestone
  • Recycled amber glass: The amount of glass that is recycled in a recycled bottle is normally around 80% of the bottle

Embedded Energy and CO2 Emissions in Transportation

Transport by Land

For Trucks the Fuel efficiency of Class 8 Truck by Vehicle Weight Range on Flat Terrain at 65 mph 9.2 miles/gal [3] which we then convert into km which is 14.8 km/gal.

  • For Diesel Fuel
    • Energy intensity: 135.8 MJ/gal[4]
    • Carbon Intensity 10.15 kg CO2 /gal [5]
  • General embedded energy in shipping by land [6]

traveled by truck: 2.7 MJ/ t-km

Traveled by Truck: 180 (t CO2E / t-km x 10^6)

36.63 MJ/vehicle km[7] [8]

General embedded CO2 in shipping by land 80 g/tonne/km[9]

Embedded Energy and CO2 Emissions in Materials

It was found that Humboldt County transfers their beer bottles to Sacramento California and/or Los Angeles, California. [10]

The efficiency for a variety of trash trucks was averaged at 3 miles per gallon which was then converted to km instead of miles[11] which ended being 4.8 km/gal.

On one truck they can transport up to 20 pallets with holding 4,290 bottles per pallet

Diesel Energy intensity: 135.8 MJ/gal[12]

Carbon Intensity 10.15 kg CO2 /gal [13]

Next Steps

After completing the initial analysis, there are various alterations to the methods that could be made to create even more accurate results. These include:

  • What are people's methods of washing the bottles? Is it significant enough to change the final outputs?
  • How often are the mixed bottles actually reused compared to the number of virgin bottles?
  • How many times does the bottle need to be washed to be equivalent to a virgin bottle? What about a mixed bottle?
  • Determine the volume of waste avoided by the implementation of a policy such as this.
  • Calculate the embedded energy and carbon dioxide emissions in each unit produced by the manufacturing facilities, and the acquisition of the raw materials.
  • Explore alternate options as to whether or not other viable products have the potential to reduce the embedded energy or carbon dioxide emissions from the bottles.
  • Determine outlets for promoting and distributing this research to make it widely accessible.
  • Partnership with other CSUs to strive towards waste, energy, and CO2 reduction initiatives.

Team 1:Bottle Washing Bosses

Team 2 Bad News Beers

Team 3

Brainstorm Boys

Bottle Washing Beaches

References