A lot of factors contribute to determining the proper packaging for different goods. Choosing the right packaging for your product means packaging that reflects what makes an item unique. Often, the material of a package is just as crucial a factor as an effective branding and the form the package takes. The two most common materials available to you are glass or plastic. Thus, it often comes down to glass versus plastic packaging. Here are the pros and cons of each in order to help you make the right choice for your business.
Most of us are familiar with all the conveniences plastic offers. It’s a highly malleable material that can be molded into virtually any shape, from tubs to jars and bottles. It also comes in a vast array of grades which impact the durability, density, and types of items best suited to be stored within the package. Besides this, it can also be reinforced with other materials or recycled plastics. The real clincher in the battle of glass versus plastic and which to choose for your packaging often comes down to cost. Plastic is very affordable for the lightweight protection it offers in transit and on the shelf.
As with the pros, most people are well aware of the cons of plastic. Plastic is derived from crude oils which are drawn from the earth using methods that are very toxic for the environment. As such, the process of turning plastic into all its useful forms is relatively unclean compared to other materials.
Furthermore, what’s especially sobering is the fact that few plastics make it to recycling—they actually end up in a landfill. While it is one of the cleanest materials to recycle, most plastic waste doesn’t get a second life. Once trashed, it takes hundreds of years to break down, creating unhealthy micro particulates. This is a pretty big con; it can create a pretty big—and long-lasting—mess.
The traditional counterpart of plastic has always been glass. It stays inert with virtually any material added, which makes it safe for almost any product. Glass is also sturdier than many plastics without the addition of more material. Where plastic will bend and crumple, glass containers always retain their rigidity.
Glass is also the preferred choice of the informed public, as many shoppers consider glass to be cleaner than plastic. It appeals greatly to old-fashioned crowds and newer shoppers looking for greener options. Also, glass bottles can be cleaned rather than fully processed into a new form before reuse. This makes glass very quick and cheap to recycle.
As with plastic, the cons of glass are straightforward. Glass is heavy, so it’s more costly to ship. Glass also breaks into dangerous shards under too much pressure which can cause loss. Recycling glass completely also expends much more resources than other materials. As mentioned above, the protection glass offers is strictly all or nothing. Glass is also almost always more expensive to produce.
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