The Benefits of Using Glass Packaging

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 12:17 AM

Using packaging made of glass and recycling it is great for the environment and your health. It is 100% recyclable and 80% of it can be reclaimed. Glass can also be used repeatedly without any loss in quality. There is no chemical contamination that comes from using glass products. Glass is also the only packaging material that has been “generally regarded as safe” by the Food and Drug Administration.

Glass is comprised of all natural materials such as sand and limestone, that can be found in abundance in the United States. It is also much easier to clean than other packaging alternatives, and does not contribute to trash that accumulates in landfills or bodies of water in the same way that plastic does. Since it is made of natural ingredients to begin with, it breaks back down to its original form (i.e. sand) over time, without polluting the environment in the process. Ultimately, using recycled glass cuts CO2 emissions. It has been shown that for every six tons of recycled glass that is used, one ton of carbon dioxide is prevented from entering the environment.

One of the main cons of using glass packaging is it’s weight and fragility. Some argue that plastic is more environmentally friendly than plastic due to this factor, but it is the opinion of many that, ultimately, it is what goes into the product in the first place that determines its environmental impacts. Since plastics are are produced from natural gas processing and materials derived from crude oil refining, experts say that glass is the more environmentally sound choice. Another interesting fact to consider is that glass bottles today are 40% lighter today than they were 20 years ago. This ultimately means that it takes less fuel, energy, and emissions to transport glass than in the past.

Unlike plastic, glass packaging does not contain many of the harmful chemicals that are now known to come from the use of plastic packaging, such as BPA (bisphenol A). Glass also has a non-porous surface which in turn means it does not retain as much bacteria as plastic packaging. Since glass has little to no chemical interaction with most other materials, it means that whatever product the glass packaging is holding (if sealed properly) will keep its aroma and flavor intact.

At the end of the day, glass packaging seems to be one of the better choices for the environment. It has been shown that up to 80% of recycled glass can be reclaimed and that recycled glass uses 40% less energy than creating new glass. There is no loss in quality when the glass is recycled and over one ton of natural resources are prevented from entering the air for every six tons of glass that is recycled. There are no wasteful by-products that are produced from using and reusing glass, and once recycled properly, an old glass bottle can be returned to the consumer as a new glass bottle within 30 days.

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