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Why Did Snapple Change from Glass to Plastic?

What's the *real* reason Snapple changed from glass to plastic bottles? Sustainability, of course!

Snapple, a ubiquitous brand of tea and juice drinks, has long touted itself on being made "from the best stuff on Earth." They've always prided themselves on their natural ingredients and their environmental practices.

For more than 45 years, Snapple sold its products in glass bottles. The problem is that glass bottles are more suitable for a reusable product than a disposable product. Glass is recyclable, but the process is costly in terms of money, energy, *and* greenhouse gasses.

And so, starting in 2017, Snapple began phasing out their glass bottles in favor of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic. Their plan was to completely retire their glass bottle by the end of 2021. In Snapple's own words:

"With a bottle that's made from 100% recycled plastic, uses less packaging material, and is filled with the same delicious Snapple flavors, we're taking steps towards creating a more sustainable future."

Recycled Plastic vs. Glass

The immediate benefits are obvious. The PET plastic bottles require 80% fewer ingredients to create and can be easily recycled. By Snapple's own estimates, their new bottle requires 75% less energy to create and reduces the need for 600 million new bottles each year.

The new bottle also has a slimmer profile and is about four times lighter than the old glass bottle, which leads to reduced shipping costs (and less CO2 in the atmosphere).

Finally, by simply increasing their demand for recycled plastic, Snapple is providing an outlet for ocean plastic and other waste.

Ditching the Metal Cap?

The first iteration of the Snapple plastic bottle (which rolled out in 2018) basically mirrored the appearance of the glass bottle, including a metal cap that would produce the iconic "pop" when opened.

However, Snapple revamped the design of their plastic bottle in 2020, doing away with the metal cap to replace it with a recyclable (and tamper-resistant) plastic cap.

They also went from using paper labels to printing directly on the bottles with washable ink. These recent changes were implemented to make the bottles easier to recycle.

Glass containers, such as those for food and beverages, can be recycled. Other types of glass, like windows, ovenware, Pyrex, crystal, etc. are manufactured through a different process. If these materials are introduced into the manufacturing process, they can cause production problems and defective containers. Furnace-ready cullet must also be free of contaminants such as metals, ceramics, gravel, stones, etc. Color sorting makes a difference, too. Glass manufacturers are limited in the amount of mixed cullet they can use to manufacture new containers. Separating recycled container glass by color allows the industry to ensure that new bottles match the color standards required by glass container customers.

Why Did Snapple Change from Glass to Plastic?

Benefits of Glass Packaging


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