Plastic or glass?
Which is the most sustainable packaging solution for milk – a glass bottle or a plastic bag? Glass is an excellent, durable material, but if not reused multiple times, its environmental impact is relatively high due to the energy needed for its production, transportation and recycling. And these impacts are magnified by its weight. On the other hand, a thin light-proof plastic bag with a reusable holder, is extremely lightweight and easy to produce, and if properly disposed of, it offers a much more sustainable solution.
A sustainable solution rejected
In Switzerland in the 1990s, a plastic bag was a commercially available solution for milk packaging. However, it failed to satisfy the innovation sweet spot – that tricky balance between technical feasibility, business viability, user desirability, and social/environmental responsibility. It was discontinued after a few years mainly due to handling difficulties for both the consumer and the retailer. Sometimes the solution is not obvious, and perception or popularity overtakes reality. We need to be open to evaluate all options. Which is why we look at all aspects, such as material, energy usage, logistics and regionality, of the product.