Recently, I had a friend ask me a question that I knew the answer to, but I didn’t quite know why. She asked, “if everyone goes plastic free and switches to glass, wont it have the same consequences as plastic”. The answer is no, but why? I went away, did my research and now can give a more detailed answer, and here it is.
If glass is recycled properly, it can be burnt down and made into more glass for future use. This is a continuous cycle, where it can be recycled into itself over and over again without loosing its integrity. Plastic, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same ability to be recycled into itself, and instead has to be burnt down and turned into something different. Recycled plastic is being used to make so many things, such as roads and furniture, by companies such as replas. But, it can never be made back into its original form without loosing its quality. So when you see those plastic bottles that are made from recycled plastic, it would have taken more than one bottle to make it, where as a glass jar could have been made from one recycled jar.
So every time you buy a plastic bottle that doesn’t say otherwise, it will be new plastic, and all new resources, such as water, went into making it. Aluminium is the same as glass, and can be recycled into itself over and over again. There are also some other environmental differences between glass and plastic. Plastic uses two times as much fossil fuels, and seventeen times more water than glass.
So overall, I’m calling it a win for glass, and always try and buy pre packaged produce such as spreads and sauces in jars, and not in sachets or plastic containers. If you have any other questions flick me an email via the contact page, or message me on Instagram @TheBlueScientist.