Image courtesy of Inmagine (PTG03384832)

Written by Katherine Golovinova, Marketing manager of Allinpackaging creative packaging.

From an environmental point of view, most people have already got their answer in mind when it comes to using plastic or paper, the answer of which is neither, but what about plastic or glass? While some people still think that glass is better than plastic because of its eco-friendliness, plastic has its fair share of fans too, mainly because of one reason. Plastic and glass are both recyclable, but since glass can only be recycled and turned into more glass, it limits its options. On the other hand, since plastic loses its integrity, it can be recycled into a number of products from carpet filling to plastic lumber and so on.

Image courtesy of Inmagine (PTG03210884)

Disadvantages of Glass Packaging
While glass is used in supermarkets and stores to package food stuff such as, oils, spices and so on, when it comes to packaging perishables for the long-haul, it does have its drawbacks. The following are some of the disadvantages of using glass for packaging.

First of all, glass is heavier than plastic. This means that more trips are required when transporting packaged goods. This, also in turn, means a greater environmental impact. Not only is glass heavier, it is also heavy for the end consumer who needs to carry what they have purchased from point A (the superstore) to point B (their home).

Fragile takes on a whole new meaning when using glass containers for storing food items. As we have all learnt from an early age, glass has a tendency of smashing easily, which means that if a glass bottle or canister is knocked accidently on the floor it will break easily, leaving a mess behind. Apart from that, glass is also more slippery to the touch as compared to plastic. This means that it is more likely to be dropped than a plastic container or other packaging material.

Glass is also more dangerous when broken as compared to other packaging material. Broken glass can cut a person’s skin and can at times, also be life threatening. This is a danger that is very true for those working in factories, shops and even transportation and packaging operative who are responsible in handling them.

Image courtesy of Inmagine (CRBS1331962)

Types of Plastic Containers
Plastic containers come in several types. Some of the styles that they can be found in are Boston rounds, cylinders, jugs, modern rounds, oblongs, packers, squares, straight sided rounds, vials, wide mouth rounds. This kind of variety makes it a better choice for those with different storing needs. The following are some examples of plastic containers used in everyday life.

Plastic Canisters
Unlike cardboard boxes, plastic canisters don’t get damaged with water or heat. In addition, plastic canisters are also air tight, so long as the lid is kept closed. This helps in keeping whatever is inside fresh and allows people to store items in bulk without the fear of the contents getting stale. Additionally, clear plastic canisters are often preferred because it is easier to identify what is stored inside them without the need to open the lid.

Plastic Bottles
Plastic bottles are containers that are made from a polymer resin which is similar to polyester and is used to store water or other liquids. The main reason why plastic bottles are preferred is because they are light weight, which makes them easier to carry around. Plastic bottles are also exceedingly durable, which means they can be dropped without breaking.

And finally, plastics in general provide brilliant thermal insulation. This means that the liquids inside a plastic bottle can keep their temperature better than in containers made of other materials. This makes plastic bottles an excellent choice for storing cold or hot liquids.

Plastic Trays
Whether using a tray for the school canteen or in the baking and food service industry, living up to certain hygiene standards is a must. One of the best ways of maintaining good hygiene is by using plastic trays to store, transport or distribute cooked goods. Plastic trays are gaining in popularity because they can be used, washed and reused multiple times. Because it provides the users with a form of cheap maintenance, businesses in the food industry can avoid spending extra money on buying new trays to replace their old ones.

Plastic Food Containers
Almost everyone has had the unfortunate experience of having to smell an unpleasant odor after opening their fridge. The unpleasant odor is caused by food that has gone bad, one of the many advantages of storing your food items in good quality plastic containers is that it is able to keep the stench of bad food inside the container.

Keeping food properly sealed so that it is able to remain fresh for longer is just one of the benefits of using plastic food containers. While using a plastic food container, one can either store perishables by freezing them or cook food and then store it. The food can always be thawed later on and reheated in the microwave oven.

The following are some of the benefits of using plastics for storing and packaging food.

Extra Storage
Plastic containers allow you to buy food in bulk, which allows you to save money and get access to discounts and other price reductions that come along with buying in bulk.

Absorption of Flavors
When plastic is used to store perishable items, it is able to absorb the smells and tastes of them, which means that foods with strong flavors, such as curry or tomato soup can be stored without its odor spreading throughout the whole fridge.

Advertising Your Brand
Plastic packaging materials are the most common materials that are used for branding strategies mainly because they are easier to print on. Since the printing on plastics can be done easily, it diminishes the cost and offers a packing solution that enables you to promote your brand as well.

Plastics are Recyclable
Over forty percent of the plastic made is recycled, as compared to only twenty percent of glass containers. Recycling of glass has peaked since the mid nineties, and the percentage of glass being recycled each year has declined, while the recycling of plastic is growing.

About the author
Katherine Golovinova is the Marketing manager of Allinpackaging creative packaging.
You can connect with her on Google+.

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