Comparison: Glass containers vs. Aluminum Cans

/, Glass, Metal, Recycling Material/Comparison: Glass containers vs. Aluminum Cans

Glass containers and aluminum cans can be seen almost everywhere since most of the storage is done in these receptacles. Being an environmentalist can be tricky when you are met at crossroads regarding which type of containers you shall opt for. In situations like this, it is important to have a strong hold on the nitty-gritty of certain factors which ultimately play a big role in determining the right kind of packaging for you as well as for the earth.

So how do you decide?

The suitability of both- glass and aluminum– containers depends upon a number of factors which can be broken down into following categories:

Manufacturing technologies play a major role in evaluating whether a material is green for earth or not. Glass and aluminum are synthetic forms of packaging and they require a couple of accompanying compounds and ores to take the final shape.

When it comes to glass manufacturing, 3 additives play a major part. In addition to recycled glass, Soda ash (sodium carbonate in its natural form), Liquefied sand, limestone and a number of other additives are mixed together to create the final piece. Limestone is meant to prevent weathering of glass, however; it is a source of water pollution during its extraction. Since the stone is mined from quarries, it can also potentially destroy habitats in quarry’s vicinity. However, the raw materials used to manufacture glass can easily be obtained.

On the other hand, bauxite is required for the production of aluminum cans. This mineral ore is extracted via open-pit mining in specified areas. Since these pits remain exposed, they give rise to problems such as soil erosion, water pollution, and habitat destruction. Bauxite is hard to extract ore and its mining leaves a long-lasting scar on the face of the earth.

Energy expenditures also play an important role in determining the efficiency of a recyclable good. The use of recycled materials is observed to reduce the energy costs as well as the carbon footprints of the manufacturing process. The breakdown of this category for glass and aluminum containers shows some interesting facts.

During glass production, the recycling of old glass is done which starts by crushing the glass into small pellet-shaped culets. According to expert manufacturers, approximately 70 percent of new glass can be made from the recycled cullet after the addition of some other raw materials. The entire process is so efficient that for each 10 percent recycling of culets, energy expenditure is reduced by 2 to 3 percent than creating new glass from scrape.

Whereas for aluminum cans; the manufacturers have to melt the metal first. All of the metal can be recycled and reused over and over again without any significant decline in its quality. According to an EPA estimate, recycling of 10 tons of aluminum is no less than saving 32 oil barrels. Similarly, the use of old aluminum cans to manufacture new cans conserves the energy of the original process by 5 percent.

Transportation costs, container handling, and transportation storage are some of the important factors which determine whether a container is transported efficient or simply a waste of time, efforts, and money.

Transportation of glass is not at all an easy task. Glass containers are bulky and have a considerable weight. They cannot be closely packed during transportation as they have a tendency to shatter as the vehicle moves over bumps on the road. Not only it is hard to pull a truckload of heavy glass from one place to another, it is also expensive as it uses way more fuel. Storage is another issue which comes along with these problems.

For aluminum cans, transportation is a breezy task. Almost all the population in Europe love aluminum cans because of their lightweight and it seems like the Earth loves the aluminum cans too. Being light in weight, aluminum cans can easily be carried from point A to point B. These cans are less bulky than glass and can easily be piled over one another in large numbers.  Since large numbers of cans can be transported in one round, the fuel costs are also reduced by manifold.

The weight of goods not only determines the ease of transportation but also the efficiency of recycling. The heavier the material is, the harder it is to transport it and vice versa. Although heavier materials carry more recyclable material in them, their uneasy transportation remains a downfall.

The glass is a heavy material to be transported and recycled. It not only increases transportation expenses but also the labor costs and it requires a lot of lifting.

Aluminum cans are light in weight and easy to carry from one place to another. You can easily toss them around according to your will and it will be fun to handle them.

The greater the percentage of packaging material, the more efficient recycling it will offer.

Glass has a lot of material substance in it. Although the useful material is in a mixed form with other raw materials, glass is still an efficient option for recycling.

Aluminum cans are thin cans and carry a lot of spaces within their walls as compared to the glass bottles. The metal obtained from the recycling of aluminum is less than that of glass bottles.

And the winner is…

Aluminum and glass are two of the most common packaging containers used and recycled all over the world.

If you are looking for comparatively a more eco-friendly option, glass is a good choice for it as it does not demand the extraction of expensive minerals from beneath the ground. Almost 80 percent of recycled glass is used to make new bottles which can be re-seen in the market shelves within a month’s span.

Aluminum is a good option for recycling if you are looking to reduce the total expenditures done on the recycling technique. Since it is a metal, aluminum maintains its quality for years.

Considering these facts, you can now easily decide which container will be the best for you.

2018-08-07T06:57:18+00:00By |Categories: Aluminium, Glass, Metal, Recycling Material|0 Comments

About the Author:

Leave A Comment