Glass vs Plastic Packaging: Benefits, Types, Cost, and More
A study by the EPA found that glass waste made up 7.6 million tons of municipal solid waste. This was about 5.2% of all waste for the year 2018.
The same study found that plastic waste accounted for 27 million tons of plastic in landfills. Accounting for roughly 18.5% of all municipal solid waste.
When it comes to packaging, plastic and glass have certain attributes that make them more desirable, as well as specific drawbacks. In this guide, we’ll explain the benefits, types, cost, appearance, durability, and sustainability of glass vs plastic packaging.
Keep reading to discover more about the benefits and drawbacks of glass vs plastic packaging for your business.
Glass vs Plastic Types
Glass packaging comes in three distinct types, bottles, glass jars, and vials. Plastic packaging comes in jugs, bottles, jars, and tubes. Depending on their intended purpose, both glass and plastic have a wide array of packaging uses.
Glass vials are great for use with liquid medications, essential oils, and perfumes. Plastic squeeze bottles are ideal for hand sanitizers, shampoos, conditioners, and lotions.
Plastic prescription bottles with childproof lids are best used for pharmaceuticals, vitamins, gel capsules, and organic leaf products. A glass jar with a plastic lid can is suitable to store and seal cosmetics and skincare products.
Glass vs Plastic Benefits
Glass packaging is useful for storing some food products much longer than plastic packaging. Glass packaging can also be rinsed out, sterilized, and reused an average of 20-50 times before it may become necessary to recycle it.
Plastic packaging tends to warp in the microwave or distort after too many uses. They are also prone to transferring the food odors from one product to another or staining.
Plastic packaging is more flexible and portable than glass packaging. There is less of a chance for damage or spillage if plastic packaging is bumped or dropped.
For certain items, such as bottled soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, glass packaging is still preferred. It has proven to keep drinks colder and maintain carbonation longer.
Glass vs Plastic Cost
When compared to plastic packaging, glass packaging is more costly to produce. The energy it takes to heat the materials needed to its required temperature is quite high, at over 3,000º Fahrenheit. Glass packaging is heavier to ship, especially in bulk, and great care is also needed to ensure the containers do not break in transit.
Glass packaging has some higher costs in regards to manufacturing and transportation. But it may add perceived value to a particular product based on appearance alone. This may justify the higher costs in some of the more upscale markets.
Plastic packaging has a smaller carbon footprint. It requires less oil to produce and less gas to transport due to its lightweight structure. In some instances, it was even more cost-effective to produce new plastic than it was to recycle the existing plastic.
Glass vs Plastic Appearance
Glass provides an aesthetic of quality to some food and cosmetic products. Because of its sophisticated appearance, it makes products appear more high-end and upscale. There are many different colors of glass including blue, green, orange, amber, clear, and a frosted finish option.
Some kinds of plastic materials, such as PET, can mimic the colors and appearance of glass bottles for a fraction of the price. They are also more flexible and can be made into a variety of eye-catching shapes to catch the attention of consumers.
When it comes to labeling, many plastic packaging containers can be printed or stamped with a label directly onto the package itself. Glass packaging may require a label to be affixed to the outside, which can tear and peel off over time.
Glass vs Plastic Durability
Glass packaging containers are tempered to be more durable. But there is still a possibility that they may chip, crack, or break if they are dropped. Glass packaging also won’t deteriorate if left on a shelf for a long period.
Plastic packaging is more resistant to being dropped. But when left on a shelf in direct lighting or areas of extreme heat it may deteriorate quickly. In certain conditions, plastic is more likely to warp, melt, or leach chemicals into the products it protects.
Plastic packaging may be easier to hold than glass packaging. Plastic packaging also has the advantage of producing specific features such as a custom mold grip to make it easier for the consumer to hold onto.
Glass vs Plastic Sustainability
In a natural environment, the glass likely wouldn’t biodegrade for a million years. This may be much longer still in a landfill setting. Glass bottles do show a higher overall recycling rate.
Plastic packaging could take over 450 years to degrade on its own, even longer in a landfill. Neither glass nor plastic packaging is fully able to decompose on its own. Plastic packaging leaves behind microplastics, which can still harm the environment.
Most glass packaging, except for crystal and tempered glass, is more fully recyclable than plastic packaging. Glass can be consistently melted down and reused as glass. Whereas plastic’s overall composition is prone to break down after a set number of uses.
Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR), PCR High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plastics can be continuously recycled or down-cycled into other items. They are manufactured for the express purpose of being recycled and reused multiple times.
In some regions, specific types of plastic, such as PVC, are not recyclable. From an environmental standpoint, glass packaging is still preferred for its recyclability and reusability.
Your Solution for Wholesale Glass and Plastic Packaging
When it comes to your business, there are several different types available when it comes to glass vs plastic packaging. Both are practical and affordable options. They have many uses in the skincare, fitness, healthcare, and food storage industries.
FH Packaging is your source for Wholesale Glass Jars Packaging, as well as Wholesale Glass Bottle Packaging and Wholesale Plastic Bottle Packaging.
With so many choices to choose from, you’re sure to find the packaging materials you need for your unique business packaging specifications.
Contact Us today for all your wholesale packaging needs.