Why Did We Swap Glass Bottles for Plastic?
Each day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic find their way into our oceans. Yet still, single-use plastic is the norm for bottles. Yet, things have not always been this way. Indeed, until the early 1950s, glass bottles were standard, and the great thing about this was that consumers were incentivized with money to return these to be reused and recycled. Keep reading to discover why we made the switch and whether it’s time to go back to glass.
How Plastic is Damaging the Environment
Before we get into why we switched from glass to plastic bottles, it’s essential to establish just how harmful plastic is to the Earth. There are two issues to address here. The first is that as they degrade, plastics release all kinds of pollutants and toxins into the environment, threatening wildlife and ending up back on our own plates.
Secondly, plastics decompose very slowly, and it can take up to 450 years for a single plastic bottle to degrade. Unfortunately, when we times that by how many single-use plastic bottles we consume every day, the amount of waste that has to find a home on the Earth is massive in the true sense of the word. Which clearly shows what a problem plastic bottles are causing.
Why We Swapped Glass to Plastic
Plastic bottles are a mainstay of our culture, containing everything from shampoo to water. Indeed, plastic bottles are readily used in the beverage industry today. Yet this was not always the case. In fact, plastic bottles have only been in common use since the early 1950s, and before that time, glass bottles were almost universally used.
Before the early 1950’s, glass bottles were used for several reasons. The first is that glass was the most available resource for bottle making, while the second is that glass could easily withstand the stresses of the carbonation process, something essential to the beverage industry.
However, during the early 1950s, plastic bottles replaced glass because they were lighter in weight, easier to transport, and harder to damage in transit. The manufacturing faculties for plastic also began to hit their stride during this time, making plastic a cheaper and easier to produce option for bottles.
Recycle Bottles & Other Materials to Lessen the Environmental Impact of Waste.
Sadly, along with the advent of plastic bottles, the impact that so much plastic would have on the environment was not considered. While the benefits to the environment of returning glass bottles for reuse were also lost.
Indeed, back in the old days’ glass bottles were seen as the property of the company that sold them along with their product, and consumers could collect and return them for a fee. Something that provided a clear incentive to ensure the reuse of glass bottles.
Of course, manufacturers no longer offer such an incentive, yet it is available to consumers in another way. By choosing to recycle bottles made of glass and other recyclable containers, the environmentally and financially conscientious can reap the rewards.