In an article published on May 30, 2019, news provider Food Dive reported on the rebounding interest in glass as a food packaging material following decades of focus on the development of plastics. Correspondent Jessi Devenyns recounts the reappearance of glass in the mid-2000s into the mainstream market. Murray Bain from the packaging company Stanpac attributed this “to two main factors: the environment and new interest in small-batch, high-quality products.” Joe Cattaneo from the trade association Glass Packaging Institute commented that “plastic is the abomination right now in recycling” and pointed to “glass [being] the only packaging that the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] has the approval of [as] GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe). No other product line has that category.”

The article goes on to discuss various product examples benefiting specifically from glass, including the yogurt production process. General Mills uses glass packaging to culture the product “within the very same glass pot consumers pick up at the store,” which “helps maintain the yogurt’s integrity, particularly since [they] do not add corn starch or gelatin to stabilize [their] yogurt base.” Other aspects such as glass’ transparency and inertness in landfills are mentioned as key benefits. However, the weight of glass in comparison to other packaging materials is also raised as a downside in regards to transportation and production costs and impacts. Considering this, Bain argues that the re-usability of glass still makes it a frontrunner. “The single-use container, you’ve used once,” Bain commented. “The glass container, depending on the method of distribution, could be used 10 times or up to 40 times.” Despite the resurgence of glass, Cattaneo still believes that “glass will remain an ecological niche choice, unless plastic is banned and manufacturers are forced to rely on alternative packaging.”

Read More

Jessi Devenyns (May 30, 2019). “Glass: Packaging that’s clearly worth a second look.” Food Dive