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Plastic vs Glass: Which is Better For The Environment?

We are all aware of the impact that plastics have on the environment. But what can we do to combat this problem? And what exactly is plastic waste doing to the environment and our planet.

As you probably know, we love glass. We sell a wide range of glass bottles and glass jars. We love it for so many reasons. Mainly because of it's advantages over other packaging solutions that are widely available.

Plastic bottles in a net
Image by Matthew Gollop from Pixabay

Why is plastic so bad for the environment?

We may be a little biased but we do think the evidence stacks up against plastic products. We've compiled a small list of reasons why plastic is bad for the environment.

  1. Plastic can be found everywhere. From the Arctic to Antarctica. I'm sure when you've been on holiday or seen images online of random bits of plastic washing up on beaches. Plastic can be found in every ocean in the world and has been known to wind up on remote islands

  2. Plastics can kill wildlife. Birds and fish eat plastic products that are found in the ocean. They can also become trapped and tangled in plastic fishing nets or beer can holders. Again I'm sure everyone has seen images of birds or fish being trapped in some sort of plastic waste.

  3. Not all plastics can be recycled. And not all recyclable plastics are recycled. Because there are so many different types of plastics it makes it confusing and hard to recycle. Some local councils will recycle some types of plastics and some won't. And it varies from area to area. It's hard to know exactly what can and can't be recycled.

  4. Plastic lasts forever. Well not all of them do. But they can take hundreds and even thousands of years to break down. This is why they became so popular in manufacturing. Companies knew their products would last and their customers would be happy. Unfortunately we are starting to see the negative effects of this.

  5. Fossil fuels are used to make plastics. They are turned in to resin pellets which are then used to make plastics. By now we should all know how bad fossil fuels are for the environment. And we know how they are acquired. Through drilling, fracking and destroying the environment.

glass recycling
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Glass isn't all good

Even though we love glass and glass packaging we know it's not all good. However we feel the positives outweigh the negatives when it comes to using glass as a packaging material over plastic.

  1. It takes a lot of energy to produce. Glass furnaces needs to be kept at a very high temperature in order to create glass. The energy used for this process is provided primarily through burning fossil fuels.

  2. Glass is heavier and breaks easier. Glass is much heavier than plastic and therefore requires more fuel to transport around the world.

  3. It is much more fragile. Glass jars and bottles are much more fragile than plastic ones. If they break it means replacements need to be made and shipped. Adding to the environmental impact.

  4. Uses a lot of sand. Sand is one of the main ingredients in glass manufacturing. Dredging riverbeds and seas for sand can destroy ecosystems. Glass manufacturing accounts for almost half the worlds demand for sand.

  5. Never breaks down if it's not recycled properly. Glass will never degrade on it's own. It needs to be recycled correctly.

Plastic vs Glass and the Ocean

One of the main issues that is always present in the media and our minds is the worlds Oceans and the environmental impact that plastic and general waste is having on it.

A quick look around the internet can show you lots of interesting and horrifying facts all about how plastic is affecting our oceans.

Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations. That’s the equivalent of setting five garbage bags full of trash on every foot of coastline around the world.

Even though glass isn't perfect it doesn't damage the environment and our planet like plastic is capable of doing. If glass gets in to the ocean it won't break down in to micro plastics and getting in to the food chain. And it won't leach chemicals in to the surrounding environment.

There is a growing movement where consumers are looking for more sustainable packaging solutions. We believe our range of glass jars and glass bottles is a way of making this happen. You can even find out at the bottom of this article how we are trying to help and do our part.

Not to mention, plastic takes 450+ years to decompose in the environment, 1000 years in a landfill.
Compared to glass, which takes 1 million years to break down, these numbers may seem kind of low.
However, it’s important to remember unlike glass, plastic leech toxic chemicals into the environment as time passes.
Plastic doesn’t truly break down either, but instead becomes microplastics which pollute our waterways and even contaminate our very soil and the air we breathe.

collecting plastic rubbish
Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

What can we do to help?

Simple! Just remember the 6 R's. Reuse, reduce, refuse, repair, recycle and rot!

Every little helps when it comes to saving our planet. Just remember we need to preserve this beautiful place for future generations.

So take the time to retrain your brain and change some simple habits to save the planet one step at a time.

Reuse - Find another purpose for what you are looking to throw out. Can an old jam jar be used as a toothbrush holder?

Reduce - Simply reduce the amount of new items you buy. Start looking in charity shops or in online marketplaces. This reduces the amount of packaging by a huge amount.

Refuse - Say no to using single use plastic. That includes plastic straws, plastic cutlery and so much more. Once you start to think about it you will see it everywhere.

Recycle - Make sure you sort your recycling properly and wash out your glass and plastic recycling. This can make a huge difference.

Repair - This is such an easy one. If something is broken try and fix it before throwing it away! Or if you can't do it see if you can find someone who can.

Rot - Start a compost pile at home and compost all your food waste and some environmentally friendly packaging. By composting at home you reduce the need for your waste to be collected.

What does Sen5es do to help the environment?

  1. We recycle properly, wherever we can. All of our cardboard packaging, plastic and other bits and pieces in our warehouse are recycled correctly.

  2. We reuse the packaging that is sent to us. When we receive jars and bottles from our suppliers they are sent to us in bulk. We use the packaging from these bulk deliveries to create dividers and padding in our boxes.

  3. We pack our products well to prevent breakages and therefore more transportation. Our aim is to get everything to you in one piece the first time. This reduces us having to send more products to you and therefore reducing the amount of transportation this requires.

  4. Our courier is taking steps to become more efficient. Read more here.

  5. Our packaging supplier works hard to ensure they use sustainable materials.

  6. We donate a small amount to the awesome Marine Conservation Society. Who organise beach clean ups and more!

5 reasons you should choose glass packaging

Like we've pointed out we love glass jars and bottles. So much so that we sell it!

Here are our 5 top reasons for choosing glass jars and bottles over the plastic alternatives.

  1. Quality - glass bottles and glass jars give your products a premium finish. You've spent so long perfecting your amazing product. So why not house it in an amazing package.

  2. Leaching - glass is inert and therefore won't contaminate your product. Some plastics will leach toxins in to your product over time. You don't have to worry about this.

  3. History - glass has been around for so long it's part of our history and culture. And with that comes trust from your customers. They know the packaging that they are buying.

  4. Recyclable - as discussed in our previous blog. Glass is endlessly recyclable!

  5. Natural - glass is made from natural ingredients and has no artificial products in it.

Glass bottles for sale


In conclusion you are probably starting to realise that no packaging solution is perfect. All will have some impact on the environment. It's just about reducing that impact.

In an ideal world we would all grow our own food and produce our own items. But we all know that is not possible. Everyone has busy lives and not everyone will be able to get the resources to perform such tasks.

So packaging is essential. And because it's essential we need to look at ways to make it better for the environment.

In fact one of our biggest suppliers, Encirc, has successfully manufactured a bottle using 100% renewable energy sources. You can read more about that here. They are also looking at other ways to keep glass production sustainable.

We are going to keep working on keeping our environmental impact to a minimum. By working with suppliers who have the same ethos as us we hope to keep our planet safe for years to come.

Plastic vs glass packaging

Which do you think is best? What do you do to help the environment? We'd love to hear about and see the awesome ways you use our products to help you with the 6 R's above.

Do you use jars in your kitchen for storage? Or do you use a glass bottle for water when you are out and about? Let us know.

You can follow us on Instagram and Facebook. Be sure to tag us in all your awesome recycling shots and use the hashtag #sen5esbottles. We love seeing our products in the wild!

All the best

The team at Sen5es

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