Glass Vs. Plastic: Which Is Better For The Environment?

Glass Vs. Plastic: Which Is Better For The Environment?

When you visit a zero-waste store you may notice tons of glass containers all around you. Glass is famous for the people who live a sustainable lifestyle. Also, thinking glass is better for the environment.

What you think is more sustainable for the environment glass or plastic or neither. when we think in terms of the environment it becomes sensitive. Today, whatever we do impacts directly or indirectly the environment. Choosing an environment-friendly product is a tough decision.

Everything has pros and cons, either it is plastic or glass. But the important thing is buy only those products which are really necessary. Only reducing our consumption can only save environment.

We will analyze glass and plastic in terms of several factors

Perceived Quality

Glass has a separate fan base in terms of perceived quality. Most people believed that foods, liquors stored in glass gives more pleasant than the other packaging. Glass is more expensive than plastic, rather than expensive for premium experience glass is very popular. Glass has very sophisticated images, as per a study in 2015.

Plastic can be taken into any shape and size. Plastic is durable and easy to use. But glass breaks and difficult to handle also heavy. Glass may be dangerous for babies, it can make injuries.

Chemical Leaching

Glass is made from all-natural resources, it is non-toxic. Glass doesn’t leach any chemical when food stored for longer periods because glass is high resistance to leaching. This is the reason all organic products come with glass packaging.

Most of the time plastic touches our food it may be during processing, packaging, leftovers we store in plastic containers. Plastic leaches into the foods and beverages that we consume. Although the amount is very small it is difficult to say safe for our health for the long term.

Shipping

Glass is fragile and heavy, it leads to higher transportation cost. Glass requires a lot of care during transit so transportation is expensive in case of glass. The weight of a one-litre plastic bottle is approx. 20 gm and weight of one-litre glass bottle is approx. 1834 gm. It clearly shows how glass is heavier.

Plastic is more economic and Eco friendly in case of transportation. It is lightweight, durable and easy to handle. It requires less amount of oil and gas during transportation than glass. Creates a small amount of carbon footprint.

Environmental Impact During Production

As we all know that glass is made of natural resources. Glass is made from sand, soda ash, limestone and recycled glass. When the use of glass increases then natural resources destroys i.e. sand. We are using more sands than nature produces. Using soil in large amount disturbs the Eco-system. This is also one of the reasons for flooding and erosion.

Plastics are petroleum based products. Thus these materials are non-renewable and unsustainable. Drilling for oil extraction from ground has so many effects to the ground and marine life. Oil spilling contaminates soil and water.

Broken Glass Pieces
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Recycling

Report by AIGMF

Glass is 100% recyclable. Glass can be recycled several times without losing its quality. But the problem is most of the glasses are goes to landfills. Only 45 % of glass are recycled in India as per AIGMF.

There are many reasons for low recycling of glass.

  • The cost of broken glass is very low that rag pickers don’t take.
  • Difficult to handle and store broken glass pieces
  • Very difficult to segregate for municipalities

Plastic is recyclable but it loses its quality. 40% of plastic waste are going to landfills and to the seas. The Plastic recycling rate is 60% in India as per a report by UNIDO. Plastics in the landfill broken into small pieces called microplastics which are dangerous for sea animals.

Plastic down-cycles into lower quality products. It can’t retain its quality after recycling. Plastic is like making a photocopy of a photocopy. Whenever it will recycle the quality decreases.

Plastic down cycles

Impact on our Health

Glass doesn’t leach on food when you keep it for a long period of time. Glass preserves food quality as it is purely made from natural resources. There is no bad impact on our health when it stored in a glass container.

Plastic leach on food when stored in a container. No need to explain what will happen. Plastic can cause diseases like Asthma, Liver damage, Nerve and brain damage, kidney diseases, etc.

End of life

Glass takes one million years to decompose. If it is in a landfill it will take more.

Plastic takes more than 500 years to decompose and more in landfills.

At last, when you think about environmental impact everything has some side effect. That doesn’t mean that we stop buying anything. This is not possible but one thing we can do is can reduce our consumption. Buying only when needed. Buy as per your requirement but strictly avoid single-use plastics or glass. If you have reuse all this stuff as a planter or something.

Sustainable thinking only can save the environment. Which is best for you? Why you choose this? Let us know in the comment section below.

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