While glass containers are far from ideal for shipping purposes – they are heavy, take up a lot of space in trucks and are prone to breaking – the benefits of glass packaging far outweigh the disadvantages. Recycling glass is easy, saves an incredible amount of raw materials, lessens the demand for energy and cuts CO2 emissions. This article covers some of the most striking advantages of glass as a packaging material.
The biggest advantage of glass lies in its ability to be recycled endlessly without any quality loss whatsoever. An estimated 80% of recovered glass containers are made into new glass bottles, making it one of the most environmentally friendly packaging materials around.
Other remarkable facts and figures about glass packaging
- Glass cuts CO2 emissions considerably: for every six tons of recycled glass used a ton of carbon dioxide is reduced.
- Glass can handle vacuum or high-pressure sealing, preserving food and beverages far better than regular (plastic) packaging.
- Glass is made from non-toxic and readily available raw materials – silica, sand, soda ash, limestone and up to 70 percent recycled glass – and therefore totally safe for use in the food industry. Furthermore, glass is impermeable so the taste of the product is always 100 percent preserved in a glass container.
- Over a ton of natural resources are saved for every ton of glass recycled.
- Recycled glass is substituted for up to 95% of raw materials.
- Recycling 1,000 tons of glass creates slightly over 8 jobs.
(Source: 2011 Container Recycling Institute).
The disadvantages of glass
As for the drawbacks it’s true that glass jars and bottles take up a lot of space and need to be transported back to the recycling plant after use, yet glass also saves raw materials (over a ton of natural resources are conserved for every ton of glass recycled) and reduces the demand for energy by 2-3 percent. Incidentally, technological developments in recent years have resulted in a significant weight drop: today’s glass containers are overe 40 percent lighter than 20 years ago.