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Let's talk glass and food packaging and safety - share your thoughts and you could win a £250 JL voucher NOW CLOSED

(133 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-May-14 11:31:03

We have been asked by the team at Friends of Glass to find out your opinion about health risks from food packaging.

Friends of Glass are an influential European consumer forum that supports and promotes the right of consumers to be able to choose food and drink products in glass packaging. It unites all those who believe glass is the clear choice for their health, their families and for the environment. Friends of Glass was created by British Glass and the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE) in 2009. Their mission is to promote glass packaging and glass recycling.

They say "According to some new research launched today, 2 out of 3 parents in the EU are concerned about the migration of harmful substances from packaging into their children's food and drink. Are you one of these parents? We'd love to find out more about these concerns. We know that chemicals found in some types of food packaging can diffuse into the food and drink they contain in small amounts. There is a body of scientific research that says not enough is known about the effects of these chemicals on the human body and could be harmful to health over the long term. One of the more well-known chemicals, BP-A (Bisphenol A) is banned in children’s food and drink packaging in some countries such as France. You may be aware of the Breast Cancer UK campaign against BP-A called 'No More BPA'.

"We love glass as it's inert and therefore requires no chemical layer to protect its contents, unlike other packaging materials. Of course, glass can break but major advances in the way glass containers are produced have resulted in much lighter yet more resilient bottles and jars. Glass is also 100% recyclable so good for the environment and can be safely used in the microwave, steriliser and dishwasher over and over again with no deterioration".

So please share on this thread your opinion on the following: all comments welcome
~ Do you worry or are you concerned about the safety of food and drink packaging? In what ways do you worry/ are you concerned? Do you understand the issues around this topic? What don't you understand?
~ Are you aware of the safer options? If so, what do you consider them to be?
~ Do you consider glass packaging safer than plastic, and would it be your preference?

Friends of Glass are interested in your views and whether you would like to see more products available in glass packaging and any other views you have on the topic.

Everyone who adds a comment to this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £250 JL voucher.

Thanks and good luck
MNHQ

PS Friends of Glass are interested in speaking to some MNers directly after this thread - if they'd like to speak to you we will PM you (no obligation)

ScrambledEggAndToast Sun 08-Jun-14 10:29:07

In all honesty safety is not really a concern for me with regards to chemicals from the plastic seeping into the food or anything like that as I know there are strict rules surrounding how it is produced. I never go out of my way to buy products in glass containers, although somehow milk seems to taste nicer out of a glass bottle, maybe it's a psychological thing though. My only concern about plastic containers is the issue surround recycling and sustainability so obviously glass is much better in an environmental sense. I would never give a young child something glass to eat/drink from as I would be worried they would drop it and cut themselves.

I do worry about plastic bottles being reused. tetrapaks don't seem to be widely taken by kerbside recycling. I'd prefer more glass though hadn't though of the poster up thread's comment that due to higher distribution costs for heavier weight this will make it more expensive. I would probably not be put off if was only say 50p or so more but my husband is a scrimper and probably would!

Wjjkl Sat 24-May-14 19:32:55

I do not overly worry about food packaging. I do think in general, things are far too over packaged and not enough is recyclable.

I would prefer glass where possible due to concerns over plastics, but sometimes it would simply not be practical - eg you couldn't have a single 6 pint glass container for milk as it'd be too heavy and 6 individual pints would take up too much space.. Bring back the daily milkman!!

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 20-May-14 18:46:46

Thanks for all the comments - am pleased to say HeartStarCircleSquare wins the £250 John Lewis voucher. Well done!

Gen35 Tue 20-May-14 14:50:25

I would definitely like to see more glass packaging and would even pay a small premium for particularly children's food in glass containers, I do worry about the effect of chemicals leaching from plastic although I couldn't do without some convenience foods for children.

stephgr Tue 20-May-14 01:31:22

I don't really think about packaging except when it comes to recycling. I don't prefer glass because it's heavier and some members of my family are pretty clumsy so I worry about breakages. Having read the information from Friends of Glass I'm going to have to find out more about BPA.

ClairityVerity Mon 19-May-14 23:16:02

I've long been concerned about the use of plastics in food packaging - and especially in ready meals which are meant to be oven heated in their plastic containers. Even before the BPA scandal I never heated food in plastic containers, though of course I occasionally receive it from takeaways.

As far as I'm aware it's only the heating and freezing of plastics that causes micro drops to leach into the food - unfortunately I can't afford glass tupperware otherwise I'd gladly replace my plastics for freezing food.

I once tried metal drinking bottles for the children but something strange happened to the interior - not sure what - so I went back to plastic. I generally don't worry about using plastics in lunch boxes, but I always make sure any plastics containing food do not warm up on hot days/ in warm cars, etc.

Happy to be PM'd.

Nodrogetak Mon 19-May-14 22:14:19

~ Do you worry or are you concerned about the safety of food and drink packaging? In what ways do you worry/ are you concerned?
I don't worry about the safety of the packaging - I don't cook the food in the packaging so the fact that chemicals may be slowly leaking into the food isn't something I normally think about (until now )- I do think about the fact that my local council are not great at recycling and so a lot of plastic is possibly going into landfill - we are leaving a mess for future generations. We ought to go back to how it used to be when I was a child. Returning glass bottles and getting cash back. I would be willing to pay more for a product packaged in glass if I could return the container and get the difference back.

Do you understand the issues around this topic? What don't you understand?
I understand that the use of glass packaging is being promoted. I think glass packaging is a great idea.

~ Are you aware of the safer options? If so, what do you consider them to be? Not sure what is meant by safer options.

~ Do you consider glass packaging safer than plastic, and would it be your preference? Apart from the fact that clumsy warehouse staff / delivery drivers would be wrecking a lot of stock (but should they be throwing food items around warehouses anyway??). Glass is my preference for food packaging - we end to protect the environment as much as possible and it needs to start ASAP.

FrontForward Mon 19-May-14 22:09:36

So please share on this thread your opinion on the following: all comments welcome
~ Do you worry or are you concerned about the safety of food and drink packaging? In what ways do you worry/ are you concerned? Do you understand the issues around this topic? What don't you understand?

No... I don't really pay much attention and regard it as yet one more thing to get us all worried

~ Are you aware of the safer options? If so, what do you consider them to be?

Since I don't consider plastic unsafe I've never considered other options

~ Do you consider glass packaging safer than plastic, and would it be your preference?

Yes and no. Splinters of glass in my food would worry me

wibblyjelly Mon 19-May-14 22:03:39

I've never considered the safety aspect, if I'm honest. I find glass a lot easier to recycle, but do find it can take up a lot of room. With plastic, I can squish it down if need be. There is also the weight issue to consider as well!

Stripytop Mon 19-May-14 20:20:45

I am somewhat aware of the health risks reported about plastic packaging, and try to minimise our use of it as a family, but what bothers me more is the wastefulness of it. i am sometimes horrified at the amount we throw away despite our best efforts at reducing, reusing and recycling.

I try to buy products where the packaging can be re-used such as Nutella (drinking glasses) and douwe egberts (storage jars). I have bought ready made desserts because they came in glass ramekins, and will buy jam or honey in a 'pretty' glass jar that I can pass on to a jam-making relative. I would like more food to be packaged in similar ways to this.

RubySparks Mon 19-May-14 19:02:17

Yes I prefer glass containers especially for drinks, some things just taste bad from plastic. There is an issue with disposal and recycling though. Plastic stays around forever in the environment but so does glass and broken glass can be more dangerous - I would like to see the deposit scheme again, so glass bottles have value and people won't just throw them out of their cars the way they do plastic rubbish.

ISeeIt Mon 19-May-14 17:53:03

~ Do you worry or are you concerned about the safety of food and drink packaging? In what ways do you worry/ are you concerned? Do you understand the issues around this topic? What don't you understand?

I do worry, but find it quite hard to get my husband on board. We buy glass where we can (for example we would choose passata in a glass jar rather than chopped tomatoes in tins) and store everything in glass kilner jars at home. We have a young child and another on the way and I hate to think of chemicals building up in their bodies as a result of the migration from packaging.

~ Are you aware of the safer options? If so, what do you consider them to be?

See above

~ Do you consider glass packaging safer than plastic, and would it be your preference?

Yes

Cherryjellybean Mon 19-May-14 17:20:50

I haven't really thought much about it, but it is something that is hard to get away from, as a lot seems packaged in it. I try not to reheat in plastic containers. I think I roughly understand it.

I think glass is probably one of the safer options, also brown bags and wooden boxes.

I'm not sure of my preference.... I have a young child so I'm worried about breakages at the moment, but the chemicals in some plastics aren't good either!

Tyranasaurus Mon 19-May-14 15:55:17

~ Do you worry or are you concerned about the safety of food and drink packaging? In what ways do you worry/ are you concerned? Do you understand the issues around this topic? What don't you understand?

i understand the issues but they don't concern me greatly

~ Are you aware of the safer options? If so, what do you consider them to be?

glass, stainless steel, paper

~ Do you consider glass packaging safer than plastic, and would it be your preference?

breakages seems more worrying. faffing about recycling them seems annoying. also what about the extra fuel involved in transporting heavier glass packaging?

OsMalleytheCat Mon 19-May-14 14:21:19

I've never really worried in terms of my own health or safety, but I do make sure that all of the baby's plastic items are BPA free, and I would definitely prefer to buy his things in plastic and not glass.

I do worry about plastic as a finite resource and a non biodegradable object, if more incentives could be used (perhaps recycling bins on the streets?) or harsher punishments (although who knows how you would enforce them!) to try and get more people to recycle, and more research into making ALL plastics recyclable.

In the current climate however, cost is a factor for many people (myself included!) and unfortunately sometimes you have to choose between cost and what's "good" ( for you and the environment). It's a shame that we can't have a similar system to the one that was in place with the milk floats, everyone is assigned their milk bottles and they are "recycled" effectively.

MissWing Mon 19-May-14 10:15:03

Up until now- I hadn't worried about the safety of plastic containers (I probably will now). Some googling for me now then.

I would want to choose the option that is safe for us (no checmicals) and environmentally friendly.

kmills Mon 19-May-14 03:04:38

I don't necessarily think glass wine bottles are safer than plastic. But I think I would prefer my wine from a glass bottle, I think maybe plastic could effect the taste.

I much prefer glass for packaging, due to the chemical issues (which are unclear but quite scary), it's 'reusability' and the fact that plastic packaging - the thicker stuff - can be quite sharp and dangerous.

Willemdefoeismine Sun 18-May-14 19:04:41

It's not something I've given too much thought to but probably should have done....I know I always think stuff is over-packaged! And there's an issue about using empty plastic bottles for water (chemicals leach into the water from the bottles particularly if it's hot!)

I think that I understand that there's an issue about chemicals having an adverse impact on male fertility etc.....

I would imagine glass and tetrapaks to be far safer options than plastics!

I do prefer glass for packaging drinks etc....but it's very heavy to carry for those of us who are car-free households!

mercibucket Sun 18-May-14 11:44:48

i definitely avoid plastic esp if heating or warming a product but also for drinks bottles. i would like to see tgose glass deposit schemes again

ditsygal Sun 18-May-14 09:28:10

I don't worry too much about this - but my main concern is for things where I use part of them and put them in the fridge - passata, beans, etc, I feel that glass is safest for this, but I don't really worry about cardboard cartons etc either. I am most worried by cans, and to a lesser degree plastics. Having to decant food into a different container is hassle, so its easier if these products are in packaging that is safe to go in the fridge half used and wont deteriorate.
I do have to say though that when something is in glass I generally feel it is more expensive and you are paying for the extra cost of glass over other materials. And although it is recyclable I assume it takes much more energy to recycle and recreate a glass bottle then to make a carton for example. It also must cost more to transport due to it being more fragile, and heavier, so that would be a concern if it would make things more expensive. I also worry about my son getting hold of things(he can get in the fridge) and glass being more dangerous for him to hold.

LaTrucha Sun 18-May-14 07:52:33

I don't consider myself to be at all knowledgeable about the health risks associated with food and drink packaging, beyond a sense that I don't like mineral oils used in printing inks and I'm sure better alternatives to chemical plastics could be used.

I would think that glass, maybe the kind of waxed paper you sometimes get on sandwiches and cheese might be good. I like glass but it is heavy to carry and I worry about it smashing for a picnic etc as I have young DCs. It is also heavy, but I do like that you can recycle it easily.

miljones1 Sun 18-May-14 07:20:37

I would love to have more packaging made from glass - I hate the waste involved in using so much plastic and have no idea of the long-term health risks from using plastic packaging. Would be great to have the choice of milk in glass bottles at supermarket, for example!

CaptainSinker Sat 17-May-14 22:57:16

I do worry about plastic packaging, particularly where the food is cooked in plastic i.e. Ready meals.
I would favour glass though not always practical as it is not allowed in my workplace and as I wouldn't give my toddler drinks in glass bottles. I do specifically avoid BPA.
I think glass could be used more. Our major local drinks manufacturer (Barr's) still supplies drinks in glass bottles which can be returned for a 20p refund. They are known as glass cheques... Shops cope fine with the process and it encourages repeat custom and reuse of packaging.

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