Which Packaging is More Eco-Friendly – Glass or Aluminium?

In an earlier post we looked at glass and plastic packaging to determine which is more eco-friendly and found information in favour of using either material when we design packaging. Now we compare glass with aluminium packaging and this time the findings give firm support to one material.

The great thing about glass and aluminium is they are both 100% recyclable, that means they do not degrade during the recycling process and can be recycled over and over again.


Glass Aluminium package


How glass packaging is more eco-friendly than aluminium:

  • The raw material for glass is silica sand which is abundant and easy to access. The raw material for aluminium is bauxite ore that requires more energy to extract and scars the land to access it. As a result it takes twice the energy to produce an aluminium can from its raw material compared to a similar sized glass bottle or jar.

How aluminium packaging is more eco-friendly than glass:

  • Recycling aluminium is very efficient. It only takes 5% of the energy to make a can from recycled aluminium than it does to make a new can from bauxite ore. Making an aluminium can from recycled content can have a 95% energy saving, but you only save about 25% of the energy when making a glass bottle from recycled glass.

  • Aluminium weighs about six times less than glass for a similar sized container. It therefore requires a lot less energy to transport both empty and filled containers, saving a significant amount of emissions.

  • Aluminium cans are placed for recycling by consumers more often than glass.

So there you have it, after considering the facts it seems aluminium is a more eco-friendly material for packaging. Next time you’re buying a six pack of beer maybe choose cans over bottles. If you’re a wine drinker you don’t get much choice other than glass but whatever you buy make sure it goes in the kerbside recycling once you’ve enjoyed it.

Posted 11 June 2015

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