Warranty: These remarks are offered only as suggestions and comments that may help you to make good decisions on your packaging process. No warranty is expressed or implied. You are responsible for testing your products and your processes to be sure that they are compatible with our products and their accessories.
Richards Packaging has always been committed to providing our customers with packaging that is safe, recyclable, and adds value. For these reasons, we recommended glass whenever possible. We also want you to know we are striving to reduce our impact on the environment.
First, let's discuss why we recommend glass.
Safe - Glass is the only packaging material the FDA declares as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) because glass does not leach unsafe chemicals. Glass has been in use by humans for over 3,000 years so there is long track record documenting its use. Plastic has only been used as a packaging material for the last 60-70 years and not in mass form until the last 30 years. Some studies indicate PVC and Polycarbonate Plastics may contain unsafe chemicals. Even though the FDA has yet to ban these plastics, many stores will no longer allow these packaging materials.
Recyclable - Glass and plastic are both recyclable but plastic food bottles cannot be turned back into plastic food bottles. PET is usually recycled into other material like imitation wood decking or park benches. Plastics with large percentage of recycled material used for blow molding have an odor, off color and cost more so they are often used for automotive chemicals. Recycled plastics for blow molding often cost more than virgin resin so only large companies who want to claim a certain percentage of recycled materials use them. Glass can be recycled back into glass over and over again and is considered a benefit to the process because it requires 35% less energy than virgin silicates.
Value - Glass is often used for higher quality, more expensive products because it does a better job of preserving and allows less transition of product to the environment. Plus, everything tastes better in glass. Customers perceive products in glass to be of higher quality because they usually are. The cost to make glass molds is also less, so we find a wider variety of designs that may increase sales. See what consumers think about glass by visiting: http://www.gpi.org/learn-about-glass/glassnews/new-survey-finds-consumers-tru.html
Let me tell you why and how Richards Packaging is helping with green packaging.
Carbon footprint - Many of the glass manufacturers who supply Richards Packaging have improved their technology which in turn has reduced our impact on the earth. The most significant advancement has been with production methods which allow us to reduce the weight of the jars. The glass factories can do this because they are much better at placing the glass in corners of the jars where it is needed, which results in consistent wall thickness throughout the glass container without sacrificing strength. This way the container can weigh less but still be strong enough to withstand hot filling. Reducing weight means less energy required to make and ship your container. The weight is often reduced by 10% to 20% so we can estimate the energy savings is 10% to 20%.
The website, www.greenration.org.uk indicates 1 kg of glass is equal to 1 kg of CO2 emissions. There are several studies listed so it seems this is their best guess and we can bet our numbers are different because they are from a different plant. Still, we can say our 15% average reduction in weight decreases our CO2 emissions 15% on average.
Reducing weight also saves freight cost and freight-related emissions which you may be able to calculate based on you and your customer's location.
Not all jars or bottles lend themselves to light weighting. Some don't have sufficient volume to justify building new molds. Others may be too difficult to light weight. There is not enough time or room to go into an in depth discussion of each jar or bottle.
The website, www.greenration.org.uk also indicates 1 kg of PET equals 7 kg of CO2 emissions. At the risk of getting lost on a tangent, let's compare the carbon footprint of a 16 oz glass utility bottle to a 16 oz PET utility bottle. The calculation might look like this:
16 oz glass = 270 grams x 1 kg CO2 = 270 kg CO2
16 oz PET = 36 grams x 7 kg CO2 = 252 kg CO2
As you can see, the carbon foot print of a glass and plastic container are about the same even though the PET container weighs much less.
Cost - Reducing weight of some containers also allows the manufacturer to reduce energy costs, run faster and increase quality. This translates into a savings or delayed price increases to us and our customers.
Sourcing - In some instances, we have the option of buying locally or from overseas. When costs are about the same or less, we buy locally because it makes sense.
Please call us if you are wondering about specific bottles, jars or caps you buy and we will do our best to tell you about the green efforts surrounding them.
I suggest visiting this website for more information: http://gpi.org/