If you are reading this post, chances are you are already a keen organic shopper. You may have even tried creating your own organic beverages, or you may have headed on out to a store to purchase pre-made versions! But have you thought about how the right drinks packaging can make a real difference to the environment?
Plastics are renowned for being damaging to the environment – polluting the ocean, harming animals and ending up in landfill. So what alternatives to plastic bottles are are available and, importantly, which are a savvier choice for the eco shopper?
The Environmental Impact
Cans made from aluminum are an ideal alternative to the plastic bottle, although the design of these can hinder our lives as the majority of cans cannot be resealed! Another great option is glass bottles. Not only do these have an elegant look and feel, they are perceived to offer a superior ‘drinking experience’.
As alternatives such as cans are much lighter in weight than glass bottles, they are a lot cheaper to ship. These cost saving benefits mean that cans are often preferred by brands. From our point of view as a consumer, the lower packaging weight of aluminum results in a lower shipping weight and therefore a reduced carbon footprint – great news! Cans also have the added bonus that they don’t break when they’re dropped!
However, we should also take into account the recyclable nature of each. Consider how and where you can recycle cans or bottles – does your community have recycling trash cans? Or are there local bottle or can collection points for glass, including colored glass, or for aluminum? The ease of recycling should be an important factor in your purchasing decision.
With cans offering many cost saving benefits for companies we could see them winning this cans vs. bottles debate! That said, many companies do prefer glass over cans due to the demands of the public. Not only are glass bottles with screw top lids preferable for consumers, the design, look and feel of glass bottles gives them shelf appeal that cans just cannot compete with!
The innovative design of beverage packaging is why supermarkets shelve them, why we are attracted to them and essentially why the drinks sell.
The Future for Eco-Friendly Drink Packaging
The future of beverage packaging is set to continue this move towards alternative materials. Many companies are opting to use recyclable plastic only. (Top tip: only buy a plastic bottle that has the recycling sign.)
The use of aluminum cans and glass bottles is on the rise, as is the use of alternative materials, such as stand-up pouches. Just like cans, these pouches off the same amount of beverage to be shipped at a far lower weight, and therefore cost, when compared with glass bottles. Worldwide, the demand for stand up pouches is expected to rise 6.2% each year to reach $37.3 billion in 2018.
So next time you reach for your favorite juice or smoothie give a thought to the packaging, and therefore environmental, choice you are making.
Image: Kay Pat