Plastic pollution is a pressing issue because authorities struggle to contain and process the enormous amount of waste produced. We study the potential for reducing plastic waste by examining the efficiency with which different polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles deliver beverages. We find that 80% of the variation in bottle weight is explained by bottle capacity, 16% by product category, and 1% by brand. Bottle weight is quadratic and convex function of capacity, which implies that medium capacity bottles are most efficient at delivering consumable product. Local data on PET bottle sales and municipal waste recovery validate the findings. A 20% shift in consumption from smaller to larger bottles could reduce the production of PET waste by over 10,000 t annually in the U.S. alone.
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Published in Scientific Reports, Volume 11, 2021.
© The Author(s) 2021
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Becerril-Arreola, R., & Bucklin, R. E. (2021). Beverage bottle capacity, packaging efficiency, and the potential for plastic waste reduction. Scientific Reports, 11. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-82983-x