We were fascinated to read Lucy Siegle’s column in the Observer magazine, where she responded to a reader’s enquiry : “Are plastic jars worse for the environment?”.
In her article, Lucy asks, “Why don’t companies package their products the way they used to?” She says “Many brands claim they’re being greener by shifting into some new fancy-pants type of plastic (as opposed to saving money). Glass is inert and straightforward (it is essentially sand, soda ash and limestone) and keeps products fresh without plastic films and barriers. It is also highly recyclable – scrap glass, cullet, is a key production ingredient for new glass.”
After weighing up the environmental pros and cons of both materials, she concludes “I urge you to remain a glass purist. While it’s hard to stem the rising tide of plastic packaging, plastic waste – from bottles to the tiny beads called mermaid’s tears – is wreaking havoc on oceans especially. Nothing against PET, the most widely used and recycled plastic… but glass wins for me.”
Glass recycling and reuse contribute significantly to reducing glass packaging’s carbon footprint. It’s resource efficient packaging so it can be reused in its original form over and over again without any loss in quality.
Several initiatives currently under way in the glass industry will further increase the efficiency of glass packaging. This includes efforts to improve the recycling rates of glass jars and bottles, leading to a decrease in energy use and global warming potential. Also, the continuing process to light weight glass containers, which helps reduce raw material usage, emissions, energy used and overall weight.
Friends of Glass would like to know which grocery products you miss being packaged in glass and why? Tweet us @glassfriendsuk or get in touch on Facebook.