Glass vs Plastic
It is somewhat easy distinguishing glass from plastic. They have different physical properties and characteristics that can both be advantageous and not.
Firstly, plastic is a synthetic or semi-artificial material mainly produced for industrial usage. The actual physical characteristics of plastics differ because of their specific components or polymer composition (but primarily it is a combination of hydrogen and carbon). This difference determines its hardness, sustainability from heat and imperviousness to other matter like water.
This material is more malleable than glass because it can be pressed or formed into various shapes during its manufacturing process. Glass, on the contrary, is not malleable most especially if it’s already in its finished product form. Plastics are versatile materials because it has undoubtedly replaced all other materials like wood, metal and glass becoming the standard for packaging most likely because of it being a light weight material and that it can be disposed off easily.
The problem with plastics is that because it is made of the toughest elements to achieve the desired toughness of the material, these same elements make plastics degrade slowly. Thus, it clearly has a big environmental drawback. Nevertheless, there are already many specialists who are on the process of perfecting biodegradable plastics.
From the environment’s point of view, glass is the winning material. It is a firm and solid material made of silica (quartz sand) that is typically brittle. This means that it is easily breakable.
It is described as a sustainable material because it has a better recycling potential. If recycled properly, glass is a more reusable material than plastic. When glass is recycled, it is ordinarily reused as the same old glass. For plastics, recycling such materials necessitates the loss of its physical integrity because it needs to be converted into another thing like a carpet pad or a plastic lumber. This characteristic of plastics makes it fall to the downcycling bracket. It is like when you already have a photocopied material on your possession then you make a photocopy of that photocopy making the quality bad. In the case of glass, it’s like you have made an original copy from the original copy, without degrading the quality.
With regard to food packing, preservation and storage, glass is also said to have a better potential in preserving the flavor, taste and quality of the food. It also increases the stored food’s shelf life more than what the typical plastics can do. Lastly, although not applicable to all, glass is transparent more often than not.
In summary, these inorganic products are different because:
1. Glass is a more eco-friendly material that has a greater potential for being recycled compared to plastic.
2. Glass is typically an easily breakable (brittle) material compared to the tougher plastic.
3. Glass is basically a heavier material compared to the lighter plastic materials.
4. Plastics are more malleable than the solid glass material.