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Plastic and glass bottles for mineral water

Plastic and glass bottles for mineral water

For the beginning I want to say, that solving this problem would need serious survey, and in the most of the text were used my subjective feelings and the information, which I read in the magazines and newspaper. (We drink mineral water more than sodas.)

Plastic (PET) bottles become one of the symbols of polluting our environmental. Consumers throw used PET bottle into the bin, from where it is moved into dump or burned. Glass bottle is filled and used again, so it does not hurt the environment so much. Are Pet bottles really so bad? It seems to me that the answer is not so easy!

Our mineral water companies used to pack their goods only into glass bottles and we had pretty good deposit and refund system, so the bottle could be used again. Than the situation suddenly changed with the new shopping culture in our country.

First I should describe main shopping habits in the Czech Republic till the middle of 90’s. We used to have many small grocery stores all around the city. Everybody went to the store and shopped for day or two. In the middle of 90’s the situation suddenly changed. There are many new shopping centers – ”HYPERMARKETS” and with these new stores came new ”shopping culture”. People shop for more days now, so they do not have to go to the grocery store for so often.

Here I think is the main reason why mineral water bottlers started packing into plastic bottles. There was a big pressure from the side of Hypermarkets. These Hypermarkets need to save place, what is the main reason and which is not discussed so much is, that Hypermarkets do not want to care about the ”deposit and refund glass bottle system”! It would increase their costs. They would have to employ more people and store empty bottles. 14831quu39bbp7b

Advantages of glass bottle:

  1. Can be used many times

  2. Holds the quality of mineral water for a long time

  3. Holds cold temperature for a longer period of time ub831q4139bbbp

  4. Better design

Disadvantages of glass bottle:

  1. It is heavier and it takes more place in the store and car if transported

  2. Easy to crash miss the screwing top

Ad 1: By one survey glass bottle can be used almost 75 times. This is the main advantage of glass bottle Everybody knows that usual plastic bottle can be used only once or more times in the household and than becomes junk, which takes a lot of place in bins and than in junk place if not recycled. (There are also costs with returning glass bottle back to the customer. A lot of water has to be used to wash the glass, more gas is used when moved back to the producer.)

Ad 2: Producers say, that in the glass bottle keeps the same quality and typical taste of each kind of mineral water. Experts know that PET bottle is ”breathing” it means that air and light can go through it and the mineral water looses its minerals.

Ad 3: This is clear and everybody knows that the glass holds the cold or warm temperature for longer time than plastic.

Ad 4: Restaurants require good design of bottles, because not only quality of the products sells the product itself. Packaging is also very important and I can not imagine plastic bottle in the glass window of refrigerator in better restaurant. (Did you notice that in the commercials on TV are almost always with glass bottles?)

Ad I) The glass bottle is a way heavier so it needs more gas to be transported. It also needs to be moved back to the producers for next use.

It is heavier, so it is not so easy for a customer to carry (we do not use cars for shopping so much)

Less quantity can be transported by car and less quantity can be stored in the store. The glass bottle requires special ”carry box”. In my opinion this is the main reason why plastic bottle is winning in the competition with glass bottle. The main pressure is not from the side of consumer, but from the side of big stores.

Ad II) This is real disadvantage for the glass bottle. It is easier for customer to carry plastic bottle and the removable top is also big advantage for plastic bottle. If the glass bottle is once opened, it can not be closed for next consummation. Plastic bottle has screwing top, so consumer may open it drink and close it again and the mineral water will not spill over.

Now, when we saw all advantages and disadvantages, who is better off? PET or glass bottle? Surveys say that it is kind of tie. I think this is tie in the low-density countries, where bottles may stay in the big dumps. (It is not so easy to recycle PET bottles.)

In our small country making special dumps for PET bottles would require high costs. (If we count external costs on our environment. It is very hard to say by how much (expressed in the currency) decreased the value of environment, by making bigger dumps.

PET bottles:

  1. The problem is in polluting our environment by used plastic bottles

  2. Source of pollution is stationary and point source

  3. Danger: used bottles are moved on the dumps, which are getting bigger and bigger, this decreases the aesthetic value of our environment for thousands of years. The air is polluted in case PET is burned.

Solution: I collected information from few sources and I think it is less harmful to use glass bottles in the case of our country (my opinion). How to make companies to use them?

If I were a member of the Czech government I would make a law, which would force DEPOSIT AND REFUND system of PET bottles. Czech people are used to this system for many years (glass bottles)

If consumers bought a new drink they would pay for the bottle, than they would return used bottles and get their money back. The same should happen among producer and retailer.


Than the producer should be required by the law to recycle or get rid off the used bottles in ecological way. This would increase producers’ costs. The difference in prices of glass and PET packaging would be so high, that customer would require glass packaging. The producers would probably return to the glass bottles.

(There is also price difference now, the glass packaging is cheaper, customers pay for their comfort and they prefer PET bottles (there is pressure from the side of Hypermarkets too), but after imposing D&R system, prices would be probably so different, that customers would prefer glass packaging again.

Possible problems with my solution:

It may increase costs of retailers. I suppose that the price of PET bottles packaging would be so high, that there would be high pressure from the side of consumers and they would demand the most glass bottles packaging.

Glass bottles require some place for storing, someone who takes care of repurchasing empty bottles in the store = higher costs for retailers.

>I think Czech government should make serious survey, which would say what kind of packaging is the less environmental harmful.<

My sources of information:

Mladá fronta DNES – newspaper

Hnuti Duha – organization for clear environment

Technický týdeník – technical magazine