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How much do you know about glass?

Made of sand, soda, ash and limestone, glass is the leading packaging material for spirits, wine and beer, as well as for perfumery, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.

Glass offers a whole range of benefits: It’s sustainable, it’s inert, it’s 100% and infinitely recyclable, reusable and refillable. In addition, it’s safe for storing food and beverages – and it’s aesthetically pleasing. Here are some facts and figures you may not know about Europe’s leading packaging material.

Glass – a sustainable packaging choice

Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled time and time again. In fact, glass is Europe’s most recycled food and beverage packaging material – the latest figures put the collection rate at 79%.

Almost half all Europeans (48%) recognise that glass is the best packaging material for addressing climate change. What’s more, of those who are actively choosing glass over other packaging materials, 2 out of 5 Europeans choose glass because they perceive it as being more recyclable than other materials.

Glass has endless lives

Did you know that glass packaging can be recycled into a new container in just one month? For every tonne of glass recycled, more than one tonne of new raw materials is saved. And that’s not all: each time a tonne of glass is recycled, about 580 kg of CO2 is saved throughout the supply chain, air pollution is reduced by 20% and water pollution by 50%!

Glass packaging is at the heart of Europe’s sustainable and authentic circular economy model, contributing to local value and job creation, while reducing the sector’s environmental footprint.

Glass – the consumers’ choice

Nearly 8 in 10 Europeans view glass as a packaging material fit for the future – one that can help them to live healthier lives, on a healthier planet.

Against a backdrop of consumers trying to cut back on packaging, glass is the only packaging material that consumers say they use more of in the last three years – by 8% – while bag-in-box, metal, and plastic have all seen drops of between 24%-41%.

Glass is clearly considered the best packaging material for beauty, fragrance and medical products, with a 2018 study finding that over 3 in 4 consumers prefer it over plastic/PET or metal.

More than 8 in 10 Europeans prefer their wine and beer to be stored in glass, while 74% choose glass for sweet spreads. Meanwhile, over half of consumers (56%) believe glass is the safest food packaging material for preventing food contamination.

Consumer preference for glass packaging is on the increase, proven by positive growth of the glass industry.

The glass industry – working together for a Circular Economy

The glass industry is committed to the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. For example, every year we invest 610 million euros (over 10% of our costs) in upgrading container glass plants to become more sustainable.

With Europe’s 160 glass manufacturing plants producing 80 billion bottles, jars and flacons each year, the European Glass Industry contributes €9.5 billion to annual EU GDP and provides 125,000 jobs every year.

Better yet, we’ve halved the amount of energy used per tonne of glass over the last 40 years. Nearly all of Europe’s glass plants now operate on natural gas, reflecting our commitment to climate action.

Lean how you can contribute to closing the loop on recycling.

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Glass is made from natural ingredients – making it best for preserving taste and quality​. As a tasteless and odourless material with no chemical interaction, glass prevents the transfer.




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