The right direction of sustainability

Sustainability: what does it mean, and why should it be considered as a strategic value for the bottling industries?

Almost three decades have passed since the Brundtland Commission coined what has become the most often quoted definition of Sustainable Development: "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs"

Today, in a complex, fast growing and changing world we are seeking attractive Capex (Capital expenditure) and Opex (Operational expenditure) figures. We are afraid about non renewable resources consumption and we are striving ourselves to use clean technologies to get more with less towards a zero waste concept. So, introducing a more holistic approach for Sustainable Development - the Life Cycle Assessment for a product or a technology - is the new phrase that forces us to take care of our Technical System from cradle to grave or, even better, from cradle to cradle again. The rationale behind a Sustainable Development for an Aseptic Filling line is based on an holistic engineering analysis of resource utilization such as:

  • Material
  • Space
  • Energy
  • Time
while material and energy are more often considered within an optimized Life Cycle Assessments (“streamlining”) thus making clear the ‘what if’ approach through three main environmental indicators:
  • Global Warming Potential (emission in terms of kg CO2 eq)
  • Gross Energy Requirements (usually in MJ or kWh)
  • Water Footprint (kg or litre)
“Sustainable development: development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs"
PET line process description
Fig.2.1. PET line process description
Make sensitive liquid portable & stable
Key useful function and features of an Aseptic Filling line are:
  • No need for refrigeration (ambient temperature)
  • From single serve up to 2 litres
  • Mechanically – microbiologically and organoleptically stable
It means making food/beverage safe, available and affordable to everyone, everywhere. Without Aseptic Filling we couldn’t produce, transport and preserve food/beverage efficiently and allow nomad people consumption.


Material for primary and secondary packaging follows the priority pyramid hierarchy

Or in a similar way Sustainable Development can be defined by the ‘3Rs’:
  • Reduce material/energy for making same packaging
  • Reuse resources
  • Recycle
The priority pyramid hierarchy for primary and secondary packaging material
Fig.2.2. The priority pyramid hierarchy for primary and secondary packaging material
Reduce: lighter packaging
Reduce the weight of the packaging is the best way to minimize material and save energy. Thanks to aseptic filling the container can be much lighter than the one required for hot fill technology as it is not exposed to high temperature for long time.
Reuse: resources optimization
Aseptic Filling with liquid PAA technology and, even more, with Dry VHP preform/cap technology allows for freedom in packaging weight, shape and additives.
The liquid PAA technology, when used at relatively low temperature, allows the use of quite light bottles without shrinkage problems. Aseptic Blowing system performs even better, because it sterilizes very heat resistant preforms and does not stress the bottles once blown.
In this case the lightweighting of the bottle is determined by the mechanical bottle resistance for palletizing purposes.
Recycle: extend material potential
Given the huge energy ’trapped’ within the material, Sustainable Development has necessarily to pass through full recycling with existing oil PET (from bottle to bottle, B2B) and start investigating the potential of new recyclable non food polymers such as PEF (Polyethylene Furandicarboxylate).


An Aseptic Blow Filling line, processing 1litre bottles at 400bpm

Bill of material
Material Mass (g)
Bottle PET 25
Cap HDPE 3,5
Label PVC 2,5
American Box Corrugated cardboard 20,7
Pallet wrapping film PE 0,24
Total mass 51,9
Tabella. 2.1.
Energy Share Total Process
Energy share total process
Fig.2.3. Energy share total process
Energy share from Aseptic Blowing to palletizer
Considering only the process from Stretch Blow Moulding up to palletizer on an Aseptic Filling Blow Fill line there are:
Energy share in an aseptic filling line (on the left) and the detail of energy share related to Stretch Blow Moulding (SBM) only (on the right)
Fig.2.4. Energy share in an aseptic filling line (on the left) and the detail of energy share related to Stretch Blow Moulding (SBM) only (on the right)
Aseptic Blowing technology uses almost no chemicals, steam or water. Energy usage is kept to a minimum by the elimination of air conveyors, bottle sterilization and rinsing carrousels. The running costs of Aseptic Blowing lines are converging towards those of traditional PET lines. Energy for processing material and making bottles plays the most important role and drives stretch blow moulding producer’s efforts towards further optimization. Electrical energy saving for heating preforms is possible i.e. with:
  • New oven IR module (Infra Red)
  • Algorithm for lamp emission control
Other savings in terms of high pressure air for blowing bottles could be:
  • Low dead volume
  • Air recovery system
Bottle capacity Consumption* Watt/Bottle
0.5 L 3.3
1 L 3.9
1.5 L 4.8
2 L 5.2
Tabella. 2.2. Based on a Blower producing in normal environmental conditions, including heating and ventilation of the oven and the blower motor. * Data only for informational purpose
Air consumption Nm3 / h
Bottle capacity and speed Without recovery system Recovery system with 15% saving Recovery system with 25 % saving
0.5 L - 48.000 b/h 1.175 1.000 880
1.0 L - 36.000 b/h 1.600 1.360 1.200
1.5 L - 28.000 b/h 2.000 1.700 1.500
Tabella. 2.3. Based on a Blower producing in normal environmental conditions (temperature, altitude and umidity of air) * Data only for informational purpose
In a nutshell the environmental impact from cradle to palletizer gate can be seen in the bargraphs below:
Environmental impact from cradle to palletizer gate
Fig.2.5. Environmental impact from cradle to palletizer gate – (Millions of liters)
While end of life scenario related to Europe is:
PET Bottle Mass (g) Recycling (g) Incineration (g) Landfill (g)
PET 25,0 12,5 5 7,5
HDPE 3,5 1,155 1,155 1,19
PVC 2,5 0,825 0,825 0,85
PE Film 0,2 0,066 0,066 0,068
Corrugated Paperboard 20,7 16,146 1,656 2,898
Total 51,9 30,692 8,702 12,506
Tabella. 2.4.


in the bottling industry is a cost: bigger factories, greater expense

Bigger factories also mean less green field space.
In terms of space, Aseptic Blow Filling technology is more compact than traditional aseptic technology and requires fewer operators because there is no need for conveyors and rinsers.
Comparison between a traditional aseptic filling line footprint and an Aseptic Blow Fill line footprint
Fig.2.6. Comparison between a traditional aseptic filling line footprint and an Aseptic Blow Fill line footprint


The most precious resource in everyone’s life but also a cost to industry

Whenever it becomes possible to increase production in the same timeframe, productivity improves.
Process time from a blown bottle to a filled capped bottle can be reduced by 20% compared with a traditional aseptic line. Using an Aseptic Blowing line the blower is integrated in the machine so no time is lost in transferring bottles on conveyors.
  • Time share from Aseptic Blowing to palletizer
Time share from Aseptic Blowing to palletizer
Fig.2.7. Time share from Aseptic Blowing to palletizer


  1. Introduction
  2. 1.Markets, opportunities, a comparison of the technologies
    1. 1.1. “High acid” and “Low acid” beverages
    2. 1.2. Juices and Nectars
    3. 1.3. Sport Drinks
    4. 1.4. Tea and infusions
    5. 1.5. Functional Beverages
    6. 1.6. Milk-based products
    7. 1.6.1. UHT Milk
    8. 1.7. Historical perspective: Evolution of the technology from the Roman era to our day and age
    9. 1.7.1. "Aseptic" technology in the Roman era
    10. 1.7.2. The Roman "filling, capping and storage process"
    11. 1.8. Technologies to meet market demand
    12. 1.8.1. Use of preservatives
    13. 1.8.2. Hot fill
    14. 1.8.3. Ultra-clean filling
    15. 1.8.4. Aseptic Filling
    16. 1.8.5. Aseptic Blow Filling
    17. 1.9. Advantages and disadvantages of containers for beverages
    18. 1.9.1. Glass
    19. 1.9.2. Polylaminate carton
    20. 1.9.3. PET
    21. 1.9.4. HDPE
    22. 1.9.5. Cans
    23. 1.9.6. Pouches
    24. 1.10. Caps, closures, fitments
  3. 2.The right direction of sustainability
    1. 2.1. Material
    2. 2.2. Energy
    3. 2.3. Space
    4. 2.4. Time
  4. 3.Thermal treatment for product
    1. 3.1. Heat Exchangers for Liquid Products
    2. 3.1.1. Plate Heat Exchanger
    3. 3.1.2. Single Tube Heat Exchanger
    4. 3.1.3. Multi Tube Heat Exchanger
    5. 3.1.4. Triple Tube Heat Exchanger
    6. 3.1.5. Spiral Tube Heat Exchangers
    7. 3.1.6. Scraped Surface Heat Exchangers
    8. 3.2. Indirect and Direct Heating
    9. 3.3. Direct Heating UHT and ESL Designs
    10. 3.3.1. Direct Injection
    11. 3.3.2. Direct infusion
    12. 3.4. The best heat exchanger for your application
    13. 3.4.1. Heat Damage to food
    14. 3.4.2. System Selection Criteria
    15. 3.5. Conclusions
  5. 4.Understanding aseptic filling technology
    1. 4.1. Aseptic technology: an integrated system, not a series of connected machines.
    2. 4.2. Structure of an aseptic filling line
    3. 4.2.1. Sterilization
    4. 4.2.2. Container sterilization
    5. 4.3. Treatment of containers
    6. 4.3.1. Peroxyacetic Acid (POAA or PAA)
    7. 4.3.2. H2O2
    8. 4.4. PAA WET container sterilization
    9. 4.5. PAA vapour container sterilization
    10. 4.6. H2O2 CHP container sterilization
    11. 4.7. H2O2 VHP container sterilization
    12. 4.8. Preform sterilization technology
    13. 4.8.1. CHP sterilization
    14. 4.8.2. VHP sterilization
    15. 4.9. Cap sterilization technology
    16. 4.9.1. PAA spray sterilization
    17. 4.10. PAA immersion sterilization
    18. 4.10.1. CHP sterilization
    19. 4.10.2. VHP sterilization
    20. 4.10.3. Pre-sterilized caps handling
    21. 4.11. Energy-based sterilization without chemicals
    22. 4.11.1. UV light sterilization
    23. 4.11.2. Pulsed light sterilization
    24. 4.11.3. Ionizing radiation Sterilization
    25. 4.11.4. Electron beam sterilization
    26. 4.12. Aseptic Filling
    27. 4.12.1. Volumetric electronic filling
    28. 4.12.2. Weight filling
    29. 4.12.3. Other filling technologies
    30. 4.13. Capping
    31. 4.14. Bottle handling
    32. 4.15. Ancillary process equipment
    33. 4.15.1. Sterilizing solution production
    34. 4.16. Sterile water production
    35. 4.16.1. Utilities and fluids handling
    36. 4.16.2. CIP, SIP, COP, SOP
    37. 4.16.3. Integration of ancillary process units
    38. 4.16.4. Piping
    39. 4.16.5. Simplification of line handling
    40. 4.16.6. Radiation-based fluids sterilization
    41. 4.17. Line automation
  6. 5.Your new Aseptic Line
    1. 5.1. Preliminary Checklist
    2. 5.1.1. Volumes
    3. 5.1.2. Products
    4. 5.1.3. Design
    5. 5.1.4. Costs
    6. 5.1.5. Centralising production
    7. 5.2. Evaluation of the investment
    8. 5.2.1. Choose according to your own needs: the value curve
    9. 5.2.2. How to measure the performances of an aseptic line
  7. 6.Good maintenance: the best way to preserve the value of the investment
    1. 6.1. Service Culture
    2. 6.2. TPM
  8. 7.Improved safety: for the product, for operators and for the environment
    1. 7.1. Microbic Contamination
    2. 7.2. Contamination Control
    3. 7.3. Microbiological Isolator
    4. 7.4. Air Filtration
    5. 7.5. Differential Pressures
  9. 8.Aseptic filling and FDA
    1. 8.1. FDA Validation
    2. 8.2. Electronic Validation
    3. 8.2.1. GAMP 4 Module
    4. 8.3. Paper Recording vs Electronic Recording
  10. 9.Sell Aseptic to sell "more" and sell "better"
  11. 10.The Future of Aseptic
  12. Conclusions
  13. Addendum
    1. 1. Thermal treatment for products
Reference: Schlünder,E.U.:Dissertation Techn.Hochschule Darmstadt D 17, 1962.