Business News

  • Glass vs Plastic - Which Bottles Are Worse?

Glass vs Plastic - Which Bottles Are Worse?

Feb 13 2019 Read 3862 Times

A recent surge in mainstream awareness over the pollution caused by single-use plastics has led to a decline in sales of plastic drinks bottles. That slump has been accompanied by a concurrent hike in the number of glass bottles being bought, which are often seen as more environmentally-friendly and trendy to boot.

The world’s biggest drinks manufacturer, Coca Cola, has confirmed those statistics by revealing that it has enjoyed a 14% increase in sales of glass bottles all over the globe in the last 12 months. However, Coca Cola has suggested that the shift may not be entirely good news since it’s far from certain that glass is actually better than plastic from an environmental point of view.

The case for glass

There are several reasons why glass is viewed as more sustainable than plastic. For starters, it’s far more durable and can last for many more years, making it a good choice for those looking for a reusable container for their liquids. It can also be quickly and easily cleaned and sterilised in boiling water, enhancing its reusable properties.

Furthermore, glass does not contain any of the potentially harmful chemicals which some plastic bottles do. Many single-use plastic bottles still contain bisphenol A (BPA), which is believed to be responsible for disruption of natural hormones in the body. Finally, glass lends itself well to recycling, further boosting its environmental credentials.

The case for plastic

The good news for plastic is that it too can easily be recycled. The biggest problems with single-use plastics come when bottles are thrown into landfill or, worse, the ocean, and biodegrade into highly damaging microplastics. These tiny substances endure in the atmosphere for many years and can disrupt ecosystems and infiltrate food chains, having potentially huge ramifications even for humans.

But as long as plastic is responsibly recycled, this problem evaporates. Moreover, the process it takes to create a plastic bottle is far less intense than that which goes into the production of its glass counterpart, meaning that plastic has a far smaller carbon footprint than glass. Carbon, along with the methane emissions from agriculture and dairy farming, is one of the biggest contributors to global warming.

Reducing, reusing and recycling whichever material you prefer

In acknowledging the heavy carbon footprint of glass, the Coca Cola spokesman was quick to point out that it is more important to practice sustainable habits than favour one material over the other. “We offer our drinks in a wide range of packing formats including plastic bottles, glass bottles and aluminium cans,” he explained. “All of the packaging materials we use are 100% recyclable.”  

The new UK Plastics Pact, introduced by the government last year, aims to eradicate all unnecessary single-use plastic commodities by 2025. Meanwhile, recycling glass has been made easy by many supermarkets and stores, which offer cash incentives or in-store vouchers for customers who bring back their bottles after consumption.

Reader comments

Do you like or dislike what you have read? Why not post a comment to tell others / the manufacturer and our Editor what you think. To leave comments please complete the form below. Providing the content is approved, your comment will be on screen in less than 24 hours. Leaving comments on product information and articles can assist with future editorial and article content. Post questions, thoughts or simply whether you like the content.

Post a Comment




Digital Edition

International Environmental Technology Buyers Directory 2019

August 2019

A Comprehensive Bibliography of Who’s Who in Environmental Analysis & Monitoring This guide has been produced as a reference of manufacturers and suppliers with their full contact details. The c...

View all digital editions

Events

World Water Week 2019

Aug 25 2019 Stockholm, Sweden

Sensor China

Sep 02 2019 Shanghai, China

Aquatech Mexico

Sep 03 2019 Mexico City, Mexico

ICEF

Sep 04 2019 Gwangju, South Korea

NSC Congress & Expo

Sep 06 2019 San Diego, CA, USA

View all events