Packaging Innovation
Beverage packaging
October 3, 2017

Beverage packaging: are glass and aluminum on their way out?

With pouch packaging and PET increasingly popular within the beverage industry – and the retail industry in general – one cannot help but wonder: are glass and aluminum on their way out? The answer is no. Despite the growing presence of pouch packaging and PET bottles in the beverage aisle, industry experts agree that glass and aluminum beverage packaging formats still have plenty going for them – and it has much to do with their incredible sustainability.

There’s something about glass beverage packaging

As we already mentioned in a previous article, consumers clearly have a heart for glass. Some are fond of glass bottles simply because they are used to them, others because they perceive it as one of the most sustainable packaging materials out there. “When you look at the complete lifecycle of a package, from raw material extraction to recycling or end-of-life disposal, the average glass bottle has a carbon footprint that is lower than or on par with comparable aluminum and PET containers”, says Elizabeth Peery, Marketing Communications Manager at Owens-Illinois, a leading glass bottle manufacturer.

Surprisingly sustainable

recycling glass beverage packagingSurely, glass is completely recyclable. But isn’t glass packaging less sustainable than PET and aluminum packaging because it is heavier to transport? Not quite. “Glass bottle weight has been reduced by about 40 percent over the past 30 years,” Elizabeth continues. “What’s more”, she argues, “a complete lifecycle assessment by Owens-Illinois found that transportation of finished products accounts for less than 5 percent of a packaging material’s total carbon footprint.”

Aluminum cans: to infinity and beyond!

“Aluminum cans contain an average of 70 percent recycled content,” says Sherrie Rosenblatt, VP of Marketing and Communications at the Can Manufacturers Institute. Melanie Edwards Virreira, Director of Marketing at Ball Beverage Packaging, has much to say for aluminum cans as well: “Cans are among the most recycled beverage packaging format in the world and drive almost all of the value in the packaging recycling system.” Melanie is convinced that eco-conscious consumers are more than aware of aluminum’s sustainable features, and that the share of aluminum cans in beverage packaging is set to grow significantly in the coming years.

The endless possibilities of pouch packaging

Clearly, glass and aluminum beverage packaging aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Still, pouch packaging can be just as sustainable and versatile in terms of design. Be sure to check it out!   Inspired by Beverage Industry