Is Glass Really An Eco-Friendly Material?

With growing awareness on the ill effects of plastic, many are turning towards glass

as a sustainable alternative.

But, is glass really an eco friendly material?

In this video, let's examine the real environmental impact of glass.

Why do we consider glass to be better than plastic?

Some reasons for this could be Glass is not made from fossil fuels

It is reusable It does not leach out any harmful chemicals

and it can be recycled infinitely These are all true but there are many details

within them that we ought to know.

Let's scrutinize each of these points in detail.

Unlike plastic, glass is not made from fossil fuels . But then, how is it made?

Glass is made from silica sand.

The sand is mixed with soda ash and limestone and heated at high temperatures to melt it.

This is then moulded into glass products using various methods.

Though glass making does not need fossil fuels as a direct raw material, the extraction,

transportation and processing of glass requires a lot of energy, which is mostly derived from

fossil fuels.

Since glass is heavier than plastic, it requires more energy for transportation.

Also, sand is a non-renewable resource.

We use it for a wide range of glass products like jars, containers, electronics, windows,

and more.

Over-extraction of sand can affect the natural ecosystem around it and can lead to problems

like flooding and erosion.

We can infer from this, that production of glass itself is not a very sustainable process.

Glass is reusable.

A lot of plastic items are used as a one-time-use and throw material which leads to a lot of


But glass can be reused over and over again for a very long time that avoids the need

for any new materials.

Glass definitely seems like a better choice here, but, one disadvantage is that it breaks

quite easily.

Glass is a stable material and it doesn’t react with most chemicals.

This makes it very suitable to store a wide range of items, including edibles.

With plastic containers, there’s always a fear of harmful toxins and microplastics

leaching into its contents.

Glass is clearly the winner here.

Though glass is not biodegradable, it can be recycled endlessly without any loss in


This is beneficial because it reduces the need for any new raw materials and leads to

lower energy requirements as well.

Plastic on the other hand, degrades in quality every time it is recycled.

But, glass can be recycled only if it is sent to recycling in the first place.

If most people dispose it in the trash, it will only take up more landfill space.

Also, just because it can be recycled, doesn’t mean that it has to be.

In most cases it is more eco-friendly to reuse the glass than recycling it using more energy.

Here’s another detail that may change your perception about glass.

Not every type of glass can be recycled.

The kind of material used in mirrors, oven-proof glasses, and drinking glasses cannot be recycled,

because they are produced in a different way.

So, does this all mean we should stop using glass?

The simple answer is - No.

In some cases, glass may be the better choice, but there are also times when plastic will

be better.

It will all depend on the situation.

If we are looking for a perfect material with no environmental impact, we will never succeed.

Everything that we use will definitely impact nature in some way.

But, what we can do is be aware of the impact of the materials that we use and use them

consciously to minimise our negative impact on the environment.

What impacts the environment impacts us too.

I hope this video was useful and you learnt about the environmental impact of glass.

There is a similar video on my channel about the impact of paper.

If you’d like to watch it, the link is in the description.

Which material do you think is most suitable for sustainable living, let me know in the


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