Ecological packaging: Which packaging damages the environment the most?

Food packaging ranges from plastic to cardboard to disposable or returnable glass.  Which one is best for the environment?

Food packaging ranges from plastic to cardboard to disposable or returnable glass. Which one is best for the environment?

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glass, can or cartonWhat kind of packaging do you harm the environment the most?

What we eat and drink every day is mostly packaged. What should you put on the shelf if you want to protect the environment? Comparison of food packaging.

Wholesale company Coop announced last week that it was launching a new returnable glass bottle of organic whole milk. With this sustainable packaging solution, the retailer wants to avoid waste and take a step towards a circular economy. But how sustainable is a glass bottle? After all, it is heavy and causes a lot of damage during transport emissions. We take a detailed look at different packaging from an environmental point of view.

Drinks in glass bottles

The returnable glass bottles can be refilled up to 50 times, making them very climate friendly. Compared to single-use plastic packaging, they cause only half of the climate killer CO2. But: Glass is heavy and causes more emissions during transport.

The further a bottle has to be transported between the point of filling and the point of sale, the worse its ecological balance. “There are few filling points for milk, for example – from an ecological point of view, there is more sustainable packaging in beverage cartons,” he writes about “Co2 Online”. It applies: the more regional the drink, the better its ecological balance in a reusable glass bottle.

Takeaway food in cardboard and paper

There was a lot of cardboard packaging in our waste not only from the Covid pandemic, ...

There was a lot of cardboard packaging in our waste not only from the Covid pandemic, …

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… the growing popularity of delivery services also has something to do with it.

… the growing popularity of delivery services also has something to do with it.

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What about your cardboard boxes to go or delivery service? Since paper is made from renewable raw materials and is recycled more often than plastic, it is a good choice for food packaging.

Recycled paper is often used for cardboard packaging, and both paper and cardboard are light. Nevertheless, about 676 kilograms of CO2 are released per ton of paper and cardboard – that’s not a little either. Tip: rely on delivery services with reusable containers like Dabba Velo or Circle again.

Hol dir day Lifestyle-Push!

Milk and juice in a beverage carton

Do you buy milk in a glass bottle, plastic bottle or carton?

Do you buy milk in a glass bottle, plastic bottle or carton?

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Beverage cartons are also very light and made from renewable materials. Therefore, they can be easily recycled and are therefore classified as environmentally beneficial packaging. Unfortunately, the boxes contain more and more plastic – this is mainly due to plastic pouring aids, which also lead to greater weight.

Beverages in cans (aluminum)

Beverage cans are fully recyclable. non-preserved drinks, such as wine, is therefore also increasingly common here. Another argument: cans are much lighter and thinner than heavy wine bottles – making them more environmentally friendly.

An energy drink, cola or wine in a can is better for the environment than buying it in a glass bottle.

An energy drink, cola or wine in a can is better for the environment than buying it in a glass bottle.

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But it takes a lot of energy to produce tin and aluminum, and since cans can only be used once, a lot of CO2 is produced for production and recycling. The can is, together with the non-returnable glass bottle, at the bottom of the ecological ladder.

Chips and Co. in polyolefins (plastics)

A lot of plastic packaging consists of just one material, which makes it very light – this is good for long transport routes and reduces waste. Moreover, it happened Plastic packaging recycling system improved in the past.

Most food is still sold in plastic packaging.

Most food is still sold in plastic packaging.

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Another advantage is that the incineration of waste, which is common in Switzerland, generates a lot of energy. However, production is associated with high energy consumption and raw materials are only available in limited quantities.

Maybe you'd prefer to go completely without packaging?  Packaging-free shops in Switzerland are on the rise.

Maybe you’d prefer to go completely without packaging? Packaging-free shops in Switzerland are on the rise.

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More and more people are doing without plastic bags when buying fruit and vegetables.

More and more people are doing without plastic bags when buying fruit and vegetables.

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Conclusion: food packaging in comparison

The most ecological is reusable from the region. On the other hand, one-way glass bottles and beverage cans are the worst for the climate balance, as their weight and high energy emissions during production lead to a poor CO2 balance.

What are your tips for eco-friendly shopping and consumption? Share them with the community.

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