Glass Packaging Trends
Aegg interviewed Dr. Nick Kirk, Technical Director at British Glass, for his thoughts on glass packaging trends over the next 12 months. Read on to find out more...
I would say a big trend over the next 12 months will be increasing recycled content with manufacturers looking to include more cullet from post-consumer recycling
Aegg: What do you see as the biggest trends in glass food & drink packaging over the next 12 months?
I would say a big trend over the next 12 months will be increasing recycled content with manufacturers looking to include more cullet from post-consumer recycling but also looking at other waste materials from other sectors such as that demonstrated in the EnviroAsh project that Glass Technology Services is currently running. The project has demonstrated that ashes from wood incineration as a secondary raw material can be used in glass making and this will be included in the recycled content of the bottle, which is a big boost to manufacturers who are looking to increase the amount of recycled content in their products.
We’ll see manufacturers increasing the recycled content included in bottles and jars up as high as possible as it is a relatively easy win for companies across the sector.
Aegg: What do you think the public perception is of glass packaging for food and drink?
We know that the public perception of glass to be strong. As a packaging material glass has many benefits both from a recycling and a quality standpoint - not only is it 100% recyclable but it also creates a permanent barrier and doesn’t react with the food and drink inside both preserving its flavour and giving products in glass a longer shelf life than many other packaging materials.
Recent research conducted by FEVE which found that nine in ten people would recommend glass as the best packaging materials to friends and family
We believe that the public is aware of the positive aspects of glass packaging and this was reflected in recent research conducted by FEVE which found that nine in ten people would recommend glass as the best packaging materials to friends and family*. We are still working hard across the supply chain to maintain this perception of glass recycling.
*from the 2020 FEVE Insites survey.
Aegg glass drinks bottles
Aegg: What key pieces of advice would you give to retailers looking to source glass food and drink packaging?
Glass is endlessly recyclable, again and again, without a loss of quality meaning it is a truly circular packaging type and can be made over and over into new bottles and jars.
The key piece of advice I would give to retailers and brands when choosing glass is ensuring that the packaging is fit for purpose. For example, there are a number of things brands should consider such as if their product is carbonated then they would need to take into consideration the extra stress from the internal pressure that may put on the bottle and how the bottle is used by the consumer.
Glass has many benefits as a packaging material, as we outlined above, and that strong public perception also lends itself to the decisions made by brands who choose glass. If a brand wants to be perceived as a quality product, glass packaging can bring that to them. If they want to be seen as a long lasting, well preserved product then glass’ inert barrier to food and drink is perfect for that side of things and there’s also the element of reusability. Glass is endlessly recyclable, again and again, without a loss of quality meaning it is a truly circular packaging type and can be made over and over into new bottles and jars.
Aegg glass food jars
Aegg: Are there any advances in glass packaging that we are likely to see in the next 12 months?
The glass packaging sector has embarked on the journey towards net zero by 2050 and we’re already seeing trials on the world’s most sustainable glass bottles, that use bio derived fuel and 100% cullet to show that glass can be made carbon neutral. It’s likely we’ll see more of this kind of research and hopefully some equally as important breakthroughs over the next 12 months and into the future.
Aegg: What is the industry’s stance on recycled content in glass packaging?
The glass industry will utilise as much recycled glass as is available, but that availability is a current constraint on maximising recycled content. However, it is not untypical for green glass to have a recycled content higher than 80%. In the UK we are likely to see the government overhaul the current recycling structure from domestic households and the hospitality sector with a series of regulations which include Extended Producer Responsibility, Consistency of Collections and a Deposit Return Scheme. British Glass is currently working with the government to ensure that these changes have a positive outcome for the glass industry by increasing the availability of post-consumer recycled glass back for remelt which would help manufacturers include more recycled content in glass packaging.
Early projects, such as the aforementioned biofuel trials, suggest that while there is undoubtedly a long way to go, our end goal of a net-zero sector is definitely possible and as an industry we are confident that we can achieve this.
Aegg: In what ways is the glass industry looking to reduce its carbon footprint?
British Glass is currently working on a Net zero strategy which we hope will be published in the early summer and that will be identifying all the technical approaches available to achieve net zero within the glass manufacturing sector by 2050. Early projects, such as the aforementioned biofuel trials, suggest that while there is undoubtedly a long way to go, our end goal of a net-zero sector is definitely possible and as an industry we are confident that we can achieve this.
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