This paper aims to assess the sustainability and the environmental performance of hot filling systems and aseptic packaging systems used for beverages. These technologies are the systems mostly adopted nowadays to package high acid beverages with extended shelf life. The potential environmental impacts are calculated using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. The analysis only includes materials and processes that differ between the two technologies, i.e. heat treatment, filling operations, and packaging materials. PET bottles are considered in this study. Beverage production and transport of raw food materials are not taken into consideration as there are no differences between the two systems in these phases. Impact assessment is performed using ReCiPe method. The results from the analysis indicate that aseptic packaging systems on the whole have lower impacts in all the impact categories assessed. This is mainly due to the greater weight of PET bottles used in hot filling systems, necessary to withstand the higher filling temperatures. This aspect enhances the impacts of hot filling compared to aseptic packaging systems, while the environmental profile of the processing phase is similar between the two technologies in most of the impact categories considered.
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