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Which is more sustainable: PET or glass?

November 28, 2022

Sustainability is a hot topic in business today and one that many companies take very seriously. When it comes to choosing sustainable packaging solutions for your business, you may be asking yourself: what is the most sustainable option? Is PET or glass better for the environment? Let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of each material.

Advantages and disadvantages of PET
PET is probably the most commonly used plastic for packaging, and for good reason. It is light and inexpensive. It is also 100 % recyclable and the infrastructure for recycling is well advanced in Switzerland. The biggest disadvantage of PET is that it is not biodegradable, which means that it will stay in landfill forever if it is not recycled properly.

When comparing the life cycle assessments of different packaging materials, plastic often performs better than glass or metal.

- The production of PET beverage bottles emits less CO 2 (due to the lower energy input) than the production of glass bottles.

- Plastic is very light and produces less CO 2 during transport than other packaging materials.

- A great advantage of PET is that it can be recycled very well in a resource-saving way. In the life cycle assessment, bottles with a high recycling content are clearly ahead.

PET is a valuable material. But it must be returned to the cycle
recycled and must under no circumstances be "disposed of" in nature.

Advantages and disadvantages of glass
Glass has been around for centuries, but its popularity has seen a resurgence in recent years due to its environmental benefits. Unlike plastic, glass can be recycled indefinitely without any loss of quality or deterioration of material properties, making it a sustainable choice. The downside is that glass containers are heavier than plastic containers and are therefore more expensive to ship, causing more emissions.

Actually the perfect food packaging, if it weren't for the poor eco-balance of disposable use. When considering the environmental impact, glass does anything but perform well compared to other types of packaging. The main reason: glass can only be produced at extremely high temperatures of 1,600 °C and remelted during recycling, which costs a lot of energy and causes a corresponding amount of CO2. And the high weight burdens the transport balance with additional emissions. Regional reusable cycles would be a solution, but they are not as widespread in Switzerland as they are in Germany.

Both PET and glass have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to sustainability. From a purely manufacturing LCA perspective, glass can only compete with PET when it comes to returnable bottles, but ultimately it depends on your specific needs for the product to be packaged and the existing local infrastructure. It is best to consult us directly to develop a sustainable packaging solution.

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