For generations, glass packaging has been trusted to store food, beverages and medicines. Glass has the staying power as a pure, sustainable package that’s healthy for the consumer and the environment. Made from natural raw materials – sand, soda ash and limestone – glass is impermeable and nonporous, which protects its contents from degradation and tampering. In addition, glass is chemically inert, which guards contents from moisture and oxygen, and ensures that the freshness and flavor of its contents – along with the product’s shelf life – are preserved.
Explore this issueDecember/January 2007
Glass is the only packaging material generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by FDA. With the GRAS classification, glass containers require no leaching or extraction testing. The FDA requires all other packaging options to predict the amount of migrating foreign substances that will be consumed and sets limits on the amount consumed when products are packaged in anything other than glass.
A recent national consumer survey conducted by the Glass Packaging Institute shows that while consumers purchase products in a variety of packaging materials, they prefer glass for its quality, purity, taste, product protection and shelf life.
- 82 percent of respondents say glass keeps food in its healthiest form;
- 78 percent of respondents say glass preserves the purity of its contents;
- 75 percent of respondents say glass preserves the flavor of its contents;
- 73 percent of respondents say glass preserves the quality of the product;
- 62 percent of respondents say glass increases the shelf life of the product.
Consumers of organic products rate glass even higher—6 to 8 percent higher—in the areas of environmental safety, true flavor, best shelf life, healthiest form, best purity and best quality.
Because glass is chemically inert, its contents have a long shelf life without the risk of cross-contamination, and it is free of the health concerns now prevalent with competing types of containers.
An added benefit of glass is its transparency. Consumers can see and trust the quality of the product being purchased. When purchasing a product packaged in glass, consumers place a higher value on products they can inspect.
Glass is the only true “cradle-to-cradle” or endlessly recyclable package. Once glass is sorted, it remains the most easily processed and most readily recycled container. Even when recycled again and again, the quality, purity and clarity of glass does not deteriorate. A bottle can go from a curbside recycling box, through the recycling stream and re-made into a new bottle and on a store shelf in as little as 30 days. It is possible to have new bottles made of 100 percent recycled glass or cullet. The main factor preventing glass manufacturers from producing 100 percent recycled containers is the quality and availability of cullet.