A new independent pan-European survey, commissioned by Friends of Glass, has found that despite glass being one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly forms of packaging on the planet, there are still too many people in the UK who are not fully aware of its stellar environmental credentials.
Despite being 100% and endlessly recyclable, the survey reveals that while the majority (64%) of people in the UK understand that glass is one of the most environmentally friendly forms of packaging, over one third of the population are still in the dark.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Nick Kirk, technical director of British Glass, which runs the Friends of Glass campaign in the UK says: “Used glass is a brilliant resource that can go on making new glass bottles and jars over and over again. The findings of the survey are promising. The majority of people know glass is an environmentally friendly form of packaging. But the message that all glass packaging can be recycled is still not being understood by some, mostly younger, consumers.
“By recycling glass, consumers are helping to reduce CO² emissions and save energy. Recycled glass melts at lower temperatures than virgin raw materials so less fuel is needed to make new glass packaging.”
The findings of the survey also reveal that 60% of UK consumers worry about chemicals leaching from packaging into the environment or food and drink. The survey showed that 44% of the population realise that glass is the safest packaging option for food and 64% think it is best for beverages.
As concerns about the environment and health continue, 9 out of 10 consumers expect companies to operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues. In response, the British glass manufacturing industry is continually investing in improving energy-efficiency and minimising the environmental impact, as well as seeking ways to improve glass recycling rates.
Nick Kirk concludes: “Glass recycling is on the rise in the UK, growing by 139% in the past 15 years, but we still need to see further improvement. Educating younger people is key to driving up recycling rates. They are not as aware as the older generations about the sustainable credentials of glass packaging. “
About the Friends of Glass Survey: This Europe-wide survey was conducted in 11 EU `countries: Germany, France, Italy, UK, Spain, Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland, from 28 November to 14 December 2016. Overall, 17,377 Europeans were surveyed.