Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What's greener, glass or recycled plastic?

A reader asked: What’s the greener container: recycled plastic or glass?
For bottled drinks or preserved foods), I'd choose those packaged in glass, which is almost infinitely recyclable. Eighty percent of glass containers that are recycled are made into new ones, whereas plastic can only be recycled 2-3 times before it loses its strength.
Best of all, glass is free of the phthalates and bisphenol-A that can leach from plastic.  Acidic substances like tomatoes, colas and citrus, or fatty foods, promote the leaching of plastic chemicals, which they absorb. So does heating any food in plastic.
However, you might not want to use breakable glass bottles around children. And even though plastic is made of fossil fuels, its light weight requires fewer fossil fuels in shipping than glass. 
Just be sure to choose plastic marked "post-consumer recycled" (PCR) or "post-consumer waste" (PCW). Regular "recycled" plastic is usually made from factory scraps, which only encourages the continued production and waste of new plastic.

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