The environmental benefits of aseptic filling

By Matt Hale, international sales and marketing director of HRS Heat Exchangers

Matt Hale, international sales and marketing director of HRS Heat Exchangers

Over the last decade or so, the benefits of aseptic filling technology, compared to traditional hot filling techniques, have become well known in the food and drink sector. The benefits in terms of product quality have also been well documented and discussed. However, the environmental benefits, both in terms of energy consumption and typical life cycle analysis of this packaging method are less understood.

A number of life cycle analysis (LCA) studies have shown that aseptic filling techniques using ultra heat treatment (UHT) systems of pasteurisation or sterilisation, which are based on heat exchangers, generally have lower environmental impacts. This is down to two main factors: the packaging used in the two different processes and the energy footprint of the process itself.

The thermal processing of food and drink products, and the production of the relevant packaging have significant environmental impacts. Despite this, however, there have been few studies looking at the energy footprint and other environmental impacts of these processes.

Aseptic filling provides robust product quality, minimal thermal impact on the beverage, and greater bottle design flexibility with the ability to use lighter weight PET bottles or cartons. In contrast, hot filling requires a higher energy requirement, has a thermal impact on the beverage itself, and has less flexibility of bottle design than aseptic filling.

The full article can be found here.