Consumers rank glass as most eco packaging material, says FEVE

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union

Half of those surveyed in a European wide study said that glass has a more positive impact on the environment than other packaging materials such as plastics, metal cans and cartons, according to the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE).

FEVE said the survey’s results show that respondents ranked glass as the most environmentally-friendly packaging product, on the basis that it is 100 per cent recyclable and re-usable.

Dominique Tombeur, president of FEVE, said the study also demonstrates that most consumers are concerned about the risk that certain packaging materials may have on the food and drinks they buy:

“Sixty-nine per cent of buyers are convinced that glass packaging is the best at preserving the original taste and nutritional value of their food and beverages, while 48 per cent say glass is the safest packaging material for health reasons.”

He said that the participants also claimed that food and drinks packaged in glass seemed more prestigious.

Green shoppers

FEVE released part of the survey’s findings last month at the Anuga FoodTec show in Cologne, citing then the fact that nearly 60 per cent of the consumers surveyed said that they pay attention to the environmental friendliness of food and drink packaging material during their grocery shopping.

The glass packaging group said that data for the report was collected in September 2008, with a total of 6,200 consumers surveyed.

The participants varied in age from 18 to 54 years old and were spread over 12 European countries including the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece and Turkey, added FEVE.

Waste regulation

Meanwhile, a study commissioned by the Enterprise and Industry DG and released at the end of 2008 urged policy makers to consider the environmental and energy benefits of glass when designing new environmental policies.

According to the report, glass is a reusable product and falls perfectly in line with the EU's Waste Framework Directive hierarchy.

The study does highlight, however, that the relatively high energy intensity of glass production makes reducing carbon emissions a major challenge for the sector, with the technologies used to minimise energy use already mature and that short term increases in efficiency were likely to be limited.

The publication also stresses that the environmental advantages of recycling glass may be destroyed if the industry, which is the major buyer of recycled glass, moved production to lower manufacturing cost regions outside of Europe, where environmental regulation is less stringent or non-existent.

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