Forget Plastic – Let’s Go Back To Using Glass.


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Water, soda, juice, milk – they all come in plastic single-use-only bottles, with the majority of them ending up in a landfill rather than a recycling bin. But back in the day (although I am not sure what day, but before my time) they all came in reusable glass bottles that were returned to the manufacturer when you were done with the drink. Wouldn’t it be great if we could go back to those days? Imagine how much trash we could keep out of the ground!

Beverage makers who are looking forward to the future rather backwards to the past should take it upon themselves to invest in glass bottling facilities…I know for a fact that I would definitely choose their product over other ones in plastic bottles. Sure, it would require an initial investment in facilities and the glass bottles themselves, but imagine the return for both their bottom line and the planet’s resources. Glass can be used over and over again between sterilizations, never ending up in the trash or in a recycling bin. Plus, they can be made from old broken glass, so it’s a win-win.

The only downside I see to this would be the shipping costs associated with a heavier end product…but I have to imagine that we can come up with better transportation options before we can come up with a better alternative to glass instead of plastic. Wouldn’t it be great to get your milk or soda in a nice glass bottle that can then be used again and again, instead of just tossing the container in the trash?

Ah, the good ole days… 😉

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  1. Amen! Everything tastes better in a real glass anyway. We drink out of glass mason jars left over from some canning we did a few years ago, and I reuse milk jugs for little projects around the house (collecting rainwater to irrigate my square foot garden, etc.).

  2. Unfortunately, Ron, the wax is from petroleum – and not recyclable. That’s why recycling centers throw all those cardboard milk containers in the trash – it is a mixed product with paper and wax and they cannot be separated. Sucks, I know…

    However – you remember milk in glass bottles being delivered? That’s cool – I remember seeing it in the store, but not getting it delivered. Maybe you could be a new spokesperson for the movement? 😉

  3. Man, you’re making me feel old. I actually remember getting milk delivered in glass bottles. (Gulp)

    Of course, we could go back to the old wax covered cardboard cartons too! Those are easily recycled, right?

  4. I lived in Eugene for a summer, some time back, and there was a local company making these amazing drinks which they bottled in returnable glass jars. I loved the beverage, and I *loved* the fact that the bottles were reused… not just recycled, which takes way more energy, but just put back into service exactly as they were. So great! More please!

  5. Cheers! We use our mason jars for absolutely everything, and even though we haven’t bought pasta sauce in 6 months or so we’re still reusing the jars for storing grains and granola. So useful!

  6. They still do that in Europe! All the glass Evian bottles and Coke bottles are sent back to the store and then are reused. You can see the rings around the top of the bottle where it has gone back thru the manufacturing plant to be cleaned, refilled and resealed. And the best thing with glass … if it breaks – burn it back down and start over.

  7. I forgot that Jamie – you are so right. I used to go to Europe several times a year and I remember now that everything was in glass. Why is it that Americans just don’t care as much?

    1. Sadly the year is 2018 and we have all as a world made the mistake of going plastic, it all comes down to greed and oil yes again used in the manufacturing of plastic “oil and greed” health comes way below wealth and this is what has to change on mass before anything will move in the right direction. So how does one do that? Advertising a group as big as Facebook that’s how, I’m pretty sure it would be ignored by the masses but how hard would a boycott be even just for a week? Plant the seed watch it grow, together we are strong but as it is at the moment we are just squeaks in the dark…

      1. Is it possible to boycott water in plastic jars and bottles at this point? If we did wouldn’t we still have to buy water in plastic containers as I cannot see any glass bottles of water? How could this be actually changed it the water containers are not now available where I shop?

        1. Yes! We can permanently boycott plastic jars and bottles! I only use glass containers for all of my food and beverage storage. I use glass gallon bottles and fill with reverse-osmosis water at my local health food store. Or have spring water delivered to your home in 5 gallon reusable containers. I fill my stainless steel or glass containers for the day and off I go. After seeing how much plastic ends up in the ocean and how sea birds, fish, and whales are ingesting huge quantities and dying, I decided to quit using plastic grocery and trash bags. I bought stainless steel reusable straws for my kids. I buy my groceries in cloth bags and store my produce in cloth produce bags. It takes a little extra effort, but it becomes an easy habit. We have over 150 million metric tons of plastic in our oceans! We have to reverse this in any way we can!

  8. In Mexico they still use glass bottles. At my favorite taqueria, there are Mexican sodas that are in glass bottles that the taqueria expects you to give back. And it’s in the Bay Area for crying out loud!

  9. @David…

    While this may be the case, e.g. everything, basically, in glass bottles in mainland Europe you will, unfortunately not find that here in the UK. On the other hand you can still get milk delivered by the dairies in glass bottles. Do not try to buy it in glass bottles though in the stores.

    David, you are also so right about the wax coating on the cardboard milk containers (and the cardboard coffee take-out cups). People think “oh, cardboard – can be recycled”… erm, sorry, no it can’t. The coffee beakers over here in the UK now are actually lines with a thin plastic film which makes it even worse. Rather then have plastic take out cups..

  10. Man, you guys are old. It’s not a glass vs plastic issue; it’s a social issue. If someone doesn’t recyele the plastic bottle, what makes you think they are going to recylce a glass one. Aluminum cans cuerrently has a cash value if recycled, how many of them do you see thrown away or on the roadside. This would just speed up gloabl warming because of the inceased energy usage/demand to create and transport the glass containers, spelling the death of us all! Get real, would you? Gees!

    1. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Get real … glass is recyclable and biodegradable , plastic is nothinge but a pollutant that lasts for decades and is killing our planet. We need to do something now to stop the manufacture of plastic bottles!

  11. Wht can’t we use a natural wax on the cartons, And wouldn’t it be better for the environment to incinerate said cartons? Couldn’t we find good filters to protect the air from the pollution burning cartons would emit? I mean it would be cleaner than continue use of plastic. How bout a non petroleum hard plastic substitute with a deposit refund?

  12. “It”™s not a glass vs plastic issue; it”™s a social issue. If someone doesn”™t recyele the plastic bottle, what makes you think they are going to recylce a glass one.”

    Except that it IS a glass vs plastic issue, because of all the non-recycled plastic that ends up in the environment, never biodegrading and only breaking down into smaller and more toxic pieces of plastic. Glass and metal are better alternatives because they are inert, don’t leach or absorb toxins like plastic does, and don’t float like plastic does. Glass and metal eventually break down, by weathering and rusting, into mostly sand and iron molecules. Plastic never does — nearly every bit of plastic that has ever been manufactured is still in existence today, and will be for thousands of years into the future, absorbing and transporting persistent organic pollutants everywhere it travels.

    Even if nobody EVER recycled their glass bottles or returned them for refilling (which is unlikely — even those thrown away by people who don’t care will often be picked up by people who want the refund or recycling money, there’s practically a cottage industry in it), they would still at least not end up floating in a Texas-sized patch of garbage in the middle of the ocean, being eaten by and poisoning/shredding from the inside all varieties of sea life, the way that plastic does in the Pacific Garbage Patch.

  13. The usual argument I hear against your excellent idea is that it will be more expensive to transport glass than plastic in trucks.

    Which brings me to the next question–why aren’t we using freight trains to transport all this stuff, instead of trucks?

    1. Why can’t we just build small to medium size production and manufacturing and bottling facilities in more communities thus requiring less movement of product 5th reducing transportation costs and creating more jobs to boot.

  14. Bioplastic don’t come from petroleum check out the world centric website; they have biodegradable plastics that are sugar cane based. Then there is hemp oil (but that is illegal) that can be made in to strong plastic that also biodegrades … how many years does a plastic grocery bag or soda bottle need to be here anyway?

    RE: Comment by david on 10 March 2009:

    Plastic comes from petroleum, and there really isnt anything that can replicate the strength and longevity of it.

    1. Most don’t fully biodegrade 100% (nothing does, really). Degrade, yes. But biodegrade, not normally and not all the time. A lot of these “bioplastics” bother me though because A. we are now using food to package things in, when millions go hungry every day and B. we need to focus on reducing all packaging rather than just reformulating it. I suppose it’s better than regular plastic, but I do have my concerns.

  15. Soda, milk etc. all taste better from a glass bottle. The product also does not go flat so quickly, and stays fresh longer. I am sick to death of buying soda in the plastic bottle only to have it go flat before it is used. Usually goes flat within 1 day. I may start returning my unused flat soda to the store and demand a refund. Maybe then someone will get the picture.

    1. Keeping sodas unopened in the fridge will make it flat faster as well if it goes flat in a day unopened then the seal as been breached and return the product. I keep sodas under the counter offering a glass cup with ice for the person who drinks it. I actually prefer drinking things at room temperature it doesn’t shock the digestive system..

  16. I can remember when I was a child, collecting milk and pop (soda) bottles and taking them back to the shop for the refunds.
    We have completely wrecked our planet by being greedy uncaring human beings with no concern for the future of our children and grandchildren. Everyone just wants more, more and more money, regardless of how it affects us all in the long term!

  17. If the government don’t insist on using glass, No one will, that’s how people are
    , , only problem is carrying your shopping home,
    Two bottles milk
    Bottle of orange
    Tomatoes sauce
    Brown sauce
    Jar of beetrrot, that’s before all the other stuff.

    Your arms would be a foot longer. With the best intentions but we have to think of weight when your carrying it home.
    Just a thought

    1. I remember everything in glass. Yes groceries were heavier then.. but if one wants better tasing food a bit of heft while carrying is a small price to not get cancer from bpa filled bottles.

  18. Let’s talk about the fact that plastic bottles and containers started major use since 1950’s and plastic leaches estrogen and estrogen- like elements into what is in that container; and this happens more when the plastic get hot . Science has known for years that this happening. Think of all we use that’s in plastic: condiments(ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc.) salad dresssings, milk, bottled water, pop, Gatorade,. It’s difficult to actually find almost anything we eat or drink that isn’t packaged in anything but plastic
    Plus, menapausal women are encouraged to eat soy because it mimacs estrogen; formula fed infants that have a milk allergy are often put on Prosobee, hint soy formula
    Men need Testosterone to be male not estrogen!
    Another reason to get rid of plastic, helps decease landfill and increase real men

  19. I personally think it would be a great idea if we went back to glass bottles and then take all the plastic and make reusable grocery bags I just watched at a video of a landfill with plastic it was horrible

  20. I remember glass bottles and jars. Also paper bags. I would gladly buy in glass. Save the landfills and the planet. It’s a start..

  21. I wrote a paper on this subject while in college back in 1976. I interviewed a Pepsi bottling plant manager. I mistakenly thought the reason for switching (yes, at that time they were switching) to plastic was to eliminate the washing of the bottles. He assured me that the plastic bottles went through the same washing and sterilization process as glass bottles. The only reason for the switch to plastic was the cost in returning the bottles to the bottling plant. That cost was in the handling costs of storing and organizing the returns. Shipping cost would have been negligible since empty trucks still needed fuel and drivers. I am all for going back to glass and not just for beverages.

  22. it seems money rules not the health of the planet . We banned asbetos , plastic is worse every one knows this but the majority
    of people live for today . Only when laws are passed will anything happen, even planes are being made of plastic, we have
    degradeble plastic that does not help its still plastic but tiny . Look when people go to festivals or to the beach the rubbish left behind ,Only two to five percent of people give blood in the uk so I am told . WE seem to be basically selfish and lazy, the most dangerous animal is the human, In india THEY DO NOT HAVE enough TOILETS AND PEOPLE DO IT IN the streets, the ganges is dead or dieing children swim in it and become ill , and the world looks on. I am 70 years old and they were trying save the elepants 50 years ago , but things seem to be worse what happened to all the money to save them.
    Plastic is great an lasts but thats the problem , the pandora plastic box is open and only hope is left but maybe we should have grabbed ACTION INSTEAD. but we live in hope . we all want to protect how own country, when we should be protecting the EARTH . ONE COUNTRY HAS A KNOCK on affect on another . THE UK GOVERMENT IS TRAPPED IN A CIRCLE IN THE UK over brexit
    and only Boris is trying to break the circle so we can move on. I am OK jack trouble is when the air and the seas are poisened jack and jill will dissapear. or maybe we will see the light in time. but time moves fast.

  23. If a company goes back to glass, people may buy if there is a eco label. Save the environment going to glass. It might be a good to begin condiment companies. Maybe when one starts a domino effect will follow. Good PR move.

  24. Imagine Heinz ketchup going back to slow good when pouring out of bottle. If anyone remembers that commercials.

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