Plastic versus Glass..
The question is, which is better, plastic, or, glass.. ?
This is a debate that has been going on for years, and one that is without a doubt set to go on for a few more..
How do we filter through all the information at our finger tips.. how do we focus an already busy mind on making a conscious decision on whether plastic is better than glass, or, whether glass is better than plastic.. or, do we even need to decide?
It is our mission at Aqua De Vida (PTY) Limited to provide you, the reader, with information that will empower you to make an informed decision.
As plastic is lighter than glass, less energy is used in the production of plastic. As fewer raw materials are used in the production of plastic.. this simply means that, the “carbon footprint” left by plastic is lower than the “carbon footprint” left by glass. A glass bottle needs to be reused three times to lower it’s “carbon footprint” to roughly that of a single use plastic bottle. Unfortunately, each year, more than 20 billion plastic bottles land up in landfill sites, and in our oceans.. this has a damaging effect on the environment.
The beauty of plastic is that it is RECYCLABLE.. sadly, only 9 % of all plastic that has been produced has been recycled. Plastic is however, NOT TRULY RECYCLABLE, as it cannot be remade in the same form, without new materials being added. Plastic water bottles, for example, cannot be recycled into new plastic bottles. The downside of recycling plastic is that the more you recycle the plastic, the more the quality of the plastic deteriorates. When plastics are recycled, they are usually “downcycled”, that is, they are used to make a lower quality form of plastic.
Downcycled plastic can be turned into alternatives, such as carpets, clothing and plastic bags (more than 5 trillion plastic bags are produced yearly.. if we lay each bag next to each other, the bags will cover the entire earth, seven times over).
Yes, plastic is bad.. plastic takes more than a 1000 years to biodegrade.. plastic bottles contain a plastic resin (polyethylene terephthalate) which is safe until the point of reuse.. beverages stored in plastic bottles can be unsafe to drink after being exposed to heat as the heat can cause the chemicals from the plastic to leach into the beverage.
The sad truth is that plastic will be around long after we have departed this earth. So, instead of us throwing our hands up in the air and saying “no” to plastic, let us say “yes” to plastic, and recycle !
Little is known about the first attempts to make glass. However, studies show that glassmaking was discovered more tha 4,000 years ago. The origin of glass making has been attributed to the Phoenicians, who used glass in much the same way as it is used in the 21 st century.
Glass is made from 3 key natural ingredients.. sand, limestone and soda ash. When these ingredients are heated at great temperatures they bond and form liquid glass, which is then cooled. The cost to produce glass is high due to the production process being energy intensive. The cost of transporting glass, due to it’s weight, is also high.. it is in fact, cheaper to produce and transport plastic. However, the versatility of glass, surpasses that of plastic.
Glass (usually a mason jar) is used for the vacuum packing of products. A vacuum sealing system sucks the air out of the glass containers so that the food, or, beverage inside the container can be preserved.. without oxygen, bacteria and micro organisms cannot thrive. Food preserved in glass containers last 3-5 times longer than food stored in plastic containers.
Glass packaging is more enviromentally friendly than plastic, because glass is a more natural substance.. glass jars contain no chemicals that can leach into the food, or, beverage, and glass can be safely washed at high temperatures.
The major enviromental impact of glass production is the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2).. this is the only greenhouse gas that is emitted during the production of glass.
Glass IS TRULY RECYCLABLE, and endlessly recyclable at that.. glass can be remade in the same form with no new materials needed.
However, glass cannot be turned into anything else, but glass.
Glass does not lose quality when recycled time and time again.
More than 40 % of ALL glass in South Africa is recycled glass.
Recycled glass uses 40 % less energy than manufacturing new glass, and up to 80 % of all recycled glass can be reclaimed.
The increasing use of recycled glass in the manufacturing process, has the effect of reducing the “carbon footprint” of glass. On average, for each ton of glass that is recycled, 670 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are prevented.
If a 4 person household recycles 1 year’s worth of glass, that household will have adequate energy to do washing with a conventional washing machine for 2 and a half days straight.
To sum it up, there is no right, or, wrong.. there is no plastic OR glass.. both plastic AND glass are an integral part of
our everyday lives. It is essential for us to be conscious about what we do with plastic and glass, before we buy it, once we buy it, and, after we have used it.
We at Aqua De Vida (PTY) Limited are proudly moving towards glass bottles. However, that does not mean that we intend to forget about plastic.. plastic is “in our roots”. We will continue to drive plastic recycling harder than ever before.. we will continue to promote the “greener picture”.
Contact us to find out how we intend to do this..