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Glass vs plastic: which comes out on top?

The battle between glass bottles and plastic bottles is a long-lived one, spanning more than 60 years. With the environmentally-friendly argument, health benefits and taste impact to consider, it can be hard to choose a clear winner. But what is the better option? Let’s shed some light on some of the key elements in this case.


Factors to consider

With the public introduction of affordable plastic bottles beginning in the 1960s, the reduction of glass bottle production has been prominent. This is due to the unlikelihood of breakage, low production costs and lightweight nature of plastic bottles. In comparison to their glass counterparts, this makes plastic bottles much more popular.

More recently, however, the focus has been directed at the harmful aspects of plastic bottles. With the concerns of hidden dangerous chemicals like BPA, and the recently discovered dangers of leaving plastic bottles in the sunlight, the overall view on plastic bottles isn’t strictly positive. While the majority of plastic consumables are now BPA free, other destructive components may exist that are yet to be uncovered.

Aside from the chemical dangers, another unfavourable aspect would be the damage that plastic bottles contribute to the environment. In 2016, over 480 billion of plastic drinking bottles were sold worldwide, with only a disappointing less than 50% of those bottles being recycled. The production pollution, the lack of recycling and the incorrect discarding of plastic bottles causes injuries, and even death, to wildlife and sea life. These are all factors where the environment becomes the victim of humanity’s plastic bottle binge.

Bacardi Superior And Black Bottles


Not clear cut

But is glass better? It’s not just the health benefits glass bottles provide, with filtered water staying fresh without the risk of chemically-contaminated water. The washing and sterilisation of glass bottles is typically more effective than that of plastic bottles. The general consensus is that glass is a better material for the environment, and for our bodies too. But there are still dangers for brands, with broken glass and easier breakability having a visible impact on a company’s profit margins if production is on a large scale.

bottling plant


The production of glass bottles creates carbon emissions, not unlike those produced by plastic bottles. There is also the underlying factor that not all glass, like plastic, is recyclable. This means that the recycling rate is again insufficient in comparison to the damages of production.

Ultimately both glass and plastic bottles have health and environmental flaws, but that is not to say they do not have their merits too. What do you think? Is plastic better than glass? Or does the success of plastic bottles remain to be seen?


At Signet we provide globally-competitive luxury packaging design and product embellishments. Get in touch with our sales team to talk about our services by giving us a call on +44 (0)1733 396080 or on +44 (0)1577 330300, or using our easy contact form.