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Does anyone know how they used to sell orange squash before plastic bottles were invented? (Or perhaps no-one did?)

And if there was a ban on disposable plastic, how would orange squash be sold? In cans perhaps?

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A lovely question!

I can remember when there were no plastic bottles. Glass - made from one of our most common minerals - quartz, is not likely to run out, and is fully recyclable. I still get my milk in glass bottles which are collected by the milkman washed out and used again, with almost zero energy use; not even in transport as they are collected during the delivery. When I was a child all glass bottles could be taken back to the shop for which we received the princely sum of one old penny. Those were the days when humanity thought of a future.

If I remember rightly orange squash was always concentrated. You added water, and a glass bottle lasted for weeks. There was also lemon barley water. Fizzy drinks in glass bottles had rounded stoppers that were hinged into place with wires. When you flicked them up the gas came out.(this was obviously for safety, because if the stopper was not attached kids could aim the bottle at each other and shake it). There was fizzy lemon, ginger beer, and dandelion and burdock. I don't remember fizzy orange. It might have been there but I preferred the others. I have taken recently to buying fizzy apple and ginger beer in ring pull cans, which of course include fizzy or sparkling orange. They are only small though. I don't know why they don't make a larger size.

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    only downside, probably a lot more people cut themselves on broken glass. (Like i did today when my shower door shattered.)
    – zooby
    Sep 27 '19 at 17:29
  • Not questioning your main point, just a few technical details: I bet most people use energy for warm water to clean out the bottles. These days people might even use a dishwasher for that. Also I feel that the last sentence of your answer is overly idealistic and romantic. I think it was just whatever was cheapest for producers at the time.
    – Carolus
    Oct 8 '19 at 12:52
  • Glass unfortunately needs quite a lot of energy during recycling and transport (because it is quite heavy compared to the amount of liquid inside the bottle). This makes the question whether glass bottles are ecologically preferrable over other alternatives (plastic reusable and tetrapak are usually the competitors) quite situation specific. (I remember talking to someone from a dairy years ago - I don't remember specific numbers but he said that the number of uses for the milk bottles was surprisingly low because they use thinner bottles with a wider mouth than the fizzy mineral water variety Nov 12 '19 at 22:47
  • ... and they're more prone to have splinters being broken off at the top. Also because people tend to buy only single bottles compared to full boxes of mineral water bottles which gives better mechanical protection. The situation may have improved meanwhile - or this may be one of the reasons why hardly any milk is sold in bottles any more over here.) A recent study concluded that unless you live near one of the few remaining dairies who use glass bottles, tetrapak has the better ecobalance) Nov 12 '19 at 22:53
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Some common brands in the UK used glass within the last couple of decades; a few still do, but call themselves "cordial". I recall plastic caps on some, and metal caps on other brands.

In France the equivalent (more of a syrup) is often sold in metal bottles - like 1 litre cans with plastic lids. I'm not sure whether they're steel or aluminium, and don't have one to test.

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  • Interesting. I remember Oringina being a popular brand of what we would call orange-aid often been sold in pubs in small glass bottles. But don't know if it was ever sold in larger quantities.
    – zooby
    Sep 30 '19 at 2:21
  • @zooby orangina as I know it is always sold ready to drink, and is fizzy. You still see the glass bottles in France at least, though not everywhere (a bit like coke in that you can get the retro bottle sometimes)
    – Chris H
    Sep 30 '19 at 5:40

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