Ariadna Study
UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change

Sustainability assessments

Sustainability assessments include future scenarios and evaluating three areas of knowledge: economic, environmental and social. There are different methodologies to perform such evaluations. Economic tools: cost/benefit analysis, life cycle costing, modelling, regressions, scenarios, etc. Environmental tools: life-cycle assessment, material flows, resource accounting, NAMEA, ecological footprint, etc. Social tools: sustainable livelihoods, human and social capital measurement, participatory processes, etc.

We offer here, with the Ariadna project, a detailed sustainability assessment. This type of assessment is commonly asked for in EU research projects when comparing current technologies with those proposed by consortia. We want to share, transparently, a complex and detailed study as an example to follow. You are welcome to contribute with your comments using the forms below.


The existence of a growing debate around the introduction of a Deposit Refund System (DRS–in Spanish SDDR) of packaging in our country, prompted the ESCI-UPF to propose to the sponsors of this study to carry out an analysis of the environmental sustainability of its implementation from a Life Cycle perspective, thus analysing its economic and social impacts. The analysis has been performed following the requirements stated in the Spanish Law 22/2011 on Waste and Contaminated Land for the implementation of this type of DRS, as well as the EU recommendations.

To perform these analyses, three specialized research groups at ESCI-UPF in each one of these areas have been involved: the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change, responsible for coordinating the project through its director Dr Pere Fullana, the Research in International Studies and Economics research group, and the MANGO Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility.


UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF: Dr Pere Fullana i Palmer (Project Director), Dr Alba Bala Gala (Project’s Technical Coordinator and Environmental Analysis Coordinator), Blanca Díaz Such.

Research in International Studies and Economics ESCI-UPF: Dr Rosa Colomé Perales (Economic Analysis Coordinator), Joan Ribas Tur, Dr Mercè Roca i Puigvert.

MANGO Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility ESCI-UPF: Dr Silvia Ayuso Siart (Social Analysis Coordinator).

International Life Cycle Academy: Dr Iván Muñoz Ortiz, Dr Bo Weidema.

Global Center for Sustainable Business, Universidad de Deusto: Dr José Luis Retolaza Ávalos.

Sponsors of the study

ANAREVI (Agrupación Nacional de Reciclado de Vidrio), ANEABE (Asociación Nacional de Empresas de Aguas y Bebidas Envasadas), ANEP (Asociación Nacional del Envase de PET), ANFABRA (Asociación Nacional de Fabricantes de Bebidas Refrescantes), ANGED (Asociación Nacional de Grandes Empresas de Distribución), CERVECEROS DE ESPAÑA, ECOACERO (Asociación Ecológica para el Reciclado de la Hojalata), ECOEMBES (Ecoembalajes España), ECOVIDRIO, FIAB (Federación de Industrias de Alimentación y Bebidas) y TETRA PAK HISPANIA SA.


The objective of the ARIADNA Study is to analyse the environmental, economic, and social sustainability of the implementation of a mandatory Deposit and Return System (DRS) in Spain (and in Catalonia, as a pilot region). The study compares the current system of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for managing the waste with a hypothetical situation of both systems (ERP and DRS). It would affect containers for water, soft drink, juice, beer, wine, sparkling wine and spirits made from PET, HDPE, steel, aluminium, carton for beverages and glass, with a capacity smaller than 3 litres. A 10-cent deposit per container would be applied, and a return rate of 90% (1) has been assumed. Containers not subject to the DRS would be managed by the EPR.

It is the most comprehensive study on DRS carried out to date in Europe. The study has involved the participation of a monitoring committee, including more than 30 entities and organisations representing the parties involved in waste management. It also includes a critical review by a panel of nine independent experts. The full report of the project has been published in the channels of the Chair for public exposure.

(1) This is the return rate that proponents of the DRS believe could be achieved. It is even higher than the return rate reported in most countries that still have a DRS for single-use containers.

"Sustainability study on the introduction of a mandatory DRS for beverage packaging in Spain: a comparative environmental, social and economic analysis versus the current situation"

Public Exposure

In this section, inquiries about the ARIADNA Study shall be collected using the form shown below. To submit a query it is necessary to provide name, surnames, and organisation (if this is the case). Anonymous inquiries will not be answered. The questions received will be sent to the research team and finally, questions and answers will be published on the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF Website (“ARIADNA Consultations” Section).