Glass is worse for the environment than plastic, say researchers

Glass bottles are worse for the environment than plastic bottles, according to a study published in the Journal for Waste Resources and Residues.

Researchers from the University of Southampton conducted a life-cycle assessment of various drink containers.

The analysis revealed that Tetra Pak-style fruit juice cartons and 100% aluminium cans are amongst the most environmentally-friendly.

The results demonstrated that in each category, there is a more environmentally-friendly packaging alternative but it highlighted that glass bottles – made of both virgin materials and a hypothetical ‘100%’ recycled materials are actually considerably more environmentally impactful than plastic bottles.

Alice Brock, lead author of the study said: ‘All beverage packaging that we assessed showed some form of environmental impacts and both the milk carton and Tetra Pak, despite being less impactful than the plastic bottles still contain plastic elements.

‘Based on the evidence, society needs to move away from single-use beverage packaging in order to reduce environmental harm and embrace the regular everyday use of reusable containers as standard practice.

‘There should be a move towards reusable beverage packaging to reduce environmental impacts and encourage more sustainable lifestyles.

‘Changes in infrastructure and potential incentives to use reusable packaging should be implemented and policies such as the proposed coffee cup tax should be adapted for single-use beverage packaging.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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Pippa Neill

Pippa Neill

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