Facts & Product details
How much do you know about glass?
Made from sand, soda, ash and limestone, glass is the leading packaging material for spirits, wines and beer, as well as perfumery, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.
Glass offers a whole host of benefits: it’s sustainable, it’s inert, it’s 100% and infinitely recyclable, reusable and refillable. Not only that, but it’s safe to store food and drinks in – and it’s aesthetically pleasing. Here are some facts and figures you might 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 – latest figures put the collection rate at 76%.
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.
Did you know: Recycled glass packaging can be recycled into a new container in as little as one month? Over a tonne of virgin raw materials are saved for every tonne of recycled glass. And that’s not all: each time one tonne of glass is recycled, about 580kg CO2 is saved throughout the supply chain, air pollution is reduced by 20% and water pollution cut by 50%!
Glass packaging is the beating heart of Europe’s sustainably-sound and authentic Circular Economy model, contributing to local value and job creation, while reducing the sector’s environmental footprint. Learn more.
Glass – the consumers’ choice
91% of Europeans would recommend glass as the best packaging material – an 11% increase compared to 2016.
1 in 2 European consumers are using more glass packaging than in 2016, mainly due to environmental and food safety concerns.
Among consumers, glass is seen to perform best in addressing all contamination and environmental issues, being considered the best packaging solution for avoiding food littering (43% of consumers), avoiding food packaging waste (43%), and addressing climate change (48%). Learn more.
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. Learn more.
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.
- Related Publications
Recycling: Why glass always has a happy CO2 ending.
Environmental, social and economic contribution of the Container Glass sector in Europe
- Related Industry Positions
From target policy to Circular Economy
- External Links
Friends of Glass
Friends of Glass is a movement made up of people who believe that glass is the best material.
8 facts about glass & circular economy worth knowing
The circular economy begins again as it ends.
Making the EU Circular Economy Real [video]