Nowadays practically all food that is sold in the retail market comes in various types of packages. Among the most popular materials used for packaging food are paper and cardboard (they are used approximately in 34% of cases), and glass (used in nearly 11% of cases) (“Food Packaging Materials” par. 1). These materials (as any other materials used for making packages) have their own advantages and disadvantages; some of them will be discussed in this paper.
We will write a custom Essay on Glass vs. Paper/Cardboard in Food Packaging specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Glass is considered to be one of the safest materials when it comes to contamination of the food contained within it. Even though it has been shown that lead leaches from glass containers into the water contained inside, the resulting concentration is low, far lower than the maximum allowable concentration in drinking water (Shotyk and Krachler 3511-3512). On the whole, it is considered that chemical diffusion from outside is hindered because of the crystal structure of glass (“Glass” par. 3).
On the other hand, paper and cardboard are much more permeable not only to the outside substances that contact it but also to the inks used to print inscriptions and pictures on the package; it is also possible that the materials contained in the recycled paper itself migrate into the food (Bradley et al. 82). Besides, laminate which is applied to the inside part of the paper or carton package may relocate to the food within (“Paper and Board” par. 2). Therefore, glass protects food from the outside contaminants very well (Glass Packaging Institute n. pag.), much better than paper does.
When it comes to durability, the comparison is rather ambiguous. On the one hand, glass is much more durable, it can store liquids for years without anything happening to the package, whereas paper will often deteriorate much sooner. Glass also does not bend, while paper can be bent, and the contents might suffer. On the other hand, glass is fragile, and if it is broken, then the food contained inside will almost certainly be lost due to the danger posed by the fragments, whilst if paper is torn, the food stored inside will not suffer much (unless it is a liquid or powder that can spill).
Glass also has much greater temperature tolerance; it can sustain temperatures higher than hundreds of degrees above zero by Celsius, which is more than enough for keeping any food. Still, if it is heated unevenly, even to less than +100° C, it can crack. Paper, on the other hand, will deteriorate if it is heated, and the materials such as ink will migrate into food.
As it is possible to see, glass, on the whole, has much better characteristics for keeping food. Still, its cost and weight are significantly higher than those of paper, which makes it inconvenient and, in fact, impossible to use glass for many types of food. Due to these facts, glass is mainly used for liquids, whereas paper and cardboard are utilized for a variety of foods in both hard and liquid state.
Bradley, E. L., J. S. Stratton, J. Leak, L. Lister, and L. Castle. “Printing Ink Compounds in Foods: UK Survey Results.” Food Additives & Contaminants, Part B – Surveillance Communications 6.2 (2012): 73-83. EBSCOHost. Web.
Food Packaging Materials. 2012. Web.
Glass. 2014. Web.
Glass Packaging Institute. Benefits of Glass Packaging. n.d. Web.
Paper and Board. 2012. Web.
Shotyk, William, and Michael Krachler. “Lead in Bottled Waters: Contamination from Glass and Comparison with Pristine Groundwater.” Environmental Science & Technology 41.10 (2007): 3508-3513. Web.