Glass or Can packaging isn't that the question?

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Future Brew is launching its first-ever packaged beer made out of bread and as with every decision that we make the environmental impact is our top priority. With that in mind, the type of packaging is essential. Of course, the most environmentally friendly way to drink beer is to ride your bike and drink straight from the tap from your closest brewery. But since that is not always possible and no one should be limited to only one beer let’s see all the facts for cans and bottles:


Glass bottles are recyclable, and the typical bottle is made with between 20 and 30 percent recycled material. They also are made with silica. Silica is industrial sand and gravel with a high silicon dioxide content. According to the United States Geological Survey, silica is abundant and its mining “usually has limited environmental impact.”

That side of bottled beer sounds great, but there’s one major problem: Glass is heavy. Glass bottles have a larger carbon footprint when it comes to transportation. They also take a large amount of thick cardboard packaging to make sure the fragile glass bottles don’t break. Transporting a bottle emits 20 percent more greenhouse gases than a can.


You probably know this already, but cans are a lot lighter than bottles. That means they have a smaller carbon footprint than glass (as noted above), but also that they take less cardboard to hold and transport. Furthermore, cans are made with much more recycled content than glass bottles. According to The Aluminum Association, cans are typically made with 70 percent recycled content, and people recycle their cans 20 percent more often than they recycle glass.

The major downside to cans comes from making new aluminium. Aluminium producers need to mine bauxite, which is a clay mineral made up of aluminium hydroxide, iron, titanium, sulphur, and chromium. Bauxite mining is a scorched-earth operation in which massive equipment tramples local terrain and breaks into the Earth while spewing dust into the atmosphere. No matter how good recycling gets, new aluminium will always be a part of the equation.

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