First of all, glass is heavier than plastic, so it costs more and burns more fuel to transport. Glass is also not recycled as often as you would think, at least not back into containers. Again it’s the weight factor. Unless there’s a local glass factory, it’s not cost/fuel effective to truck all that heavy glass around. So most of it gets ground up for pavement additive and landfill cover. Which is not all bad, because glass is pretty harmless in the environment – it’s just melted sand.
Plastic can actually have a lower environmental footprint in some cases, due to its light weight and how far it’s shipped. Depending on the number plastic, it’s fairly safe and very recyclable material. Even after it can’t be recycled any longer, it can be cleanly combusted in modern waste to energy facilities. And unlike “clean coal” they actually exist, all around the world.
Nevertheless, they both seem very good to recycle. Glass is just slightly more recycled than plastic overall; about 28 vs. 24%. In states without bottle deposit bills, glass is slightly less recycled.
There is an acai berry beverage producer who actually switched from glass bottle packaging to plastic bottle, even though they are eco-friendly. Their reasoning was stemmed on the fact that more plastic gets recycled than glass, and it has a lower carbon footprint.
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