We asked Aegg’s new Head of Glass, Pawel Wieczorek, to write his thoughts on the major shift in glass take-up since the plasics debate...
The fight against environmental pollution has become a reality. Not only for highly-developed countries, but also for the fast growing ecomonies, such as China, that are implementing solutions aimed at maximizing the limitation and reuse of packaging.
The example of China is so unique and incomparable to other parts of the world, especially Europe, where packaging decisions are made by a small group of people that influence the behavior of the society as a whole. In Europe, however, we need to focus on the specific education of end users, and provide systemic solutions so that we can head in the right direction of becoming more environmentally mindful.
Education is so important, that in today's world of easy and, unfortunately, often unproven information, we are often exposed to misleading or half-truths. For example, plastic products are being heavily criticized although the facts aren’t getting through that a lot of them can be re-used or recycled.
Glassware has always been very popular. In addition to using glass as an almost perfect material for storing various liquids, medicines, beverages as well as loose substances, it is one of the best thermal insulators– hence, the range of applications for glass products is so wide.
It should be noted that in addition to the properties I have already mentioned, glass containers also feature special aesthetic qualities, giving the products a superior look and feel, increasing their contents’ visual value.. Each of us prefers to buy a dessert in nice, transparent packaging and not in a ‘grey’ paper box.
Given the above, as well as the strong promotion of “more” environmentally friendly products by politicians, TV and sports stars and celebrities, it is not surprising that the glass packaging factories have been inundated with increased orders recently. In times past the distribution of products would be limited to a radius of several hundred kilometers from the place of production . Today these products are transported successfully from one end of the world to another. The transportation costs that arise here are not a sufficient barrier for potential customers. The demand is also not affected by the increasing prices of glassware, reflecting the rising fees for greenhouse gas emissions arising from the production process, and increasing raw material and energy costs. In recent months, glass manufacturers have raised the prices of their products from a few to a dozen percent. Demand remains unchecked. Increased margin allows the glass producer to reinvest in capacity to meet this increased demand. The increased level in demand also allows glass manufacturers to focus on developing long-term strategic business relationships with customers. Unfortunately, this market is making it more difficult for the smaller or sporadic customer.
Significant investments are currently being made, or will soon be announced by the largest manufacturers of glass packaging in Europe and neighboring countries. In addition to investments in production capacity, work is focused on increasing efficiency and reducing emissions of gases and other process waste.
End users, who observe the growing demand for glass packaging, are increasingly looking to forge relationships with reliable partners, that are able to ensure continuity of supply regardless of tightening market conditions. These partners need also to be specialists in production technology, cost structure and logistics, and be able to ensure a maintained and high quality. Aegg Creative Packaging is developing long term relationships with new trusted glass manufacturers, where our customers can benefit from our ranges of off-the-shelf food and drink glass packaging products, as well as bespoke ranges.