Glass report looks to make industry more sustainable

A report looking at ways to improve the efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of the glass industry will provide lessons for other sectors.

The Changing Patterns Project, carried out by Defra, the DTI and the British Glass Manufacturers’ Confederation, aims to find ways industry and the government can work together to better implement the principles of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP).

It highlights a number of political, social, economic and technological developments that could be used to boost the sustainability of the sector, identifying current barriers to progress as well as areas that are already proving a success.

Many of the lessons learned will be transferable to other sectors.

The report identifies unintended conflicts between existing environmental legislation, for instance, between the Climate Change Levy and UK manufacture of energy-effiecient glass products such as low-energy lightbulbs and double glazing, and cumbersome legislation which removes perfectly good recycled glass from the remanufacturing stream thus reducing potential carbon savings.

Recommendations of the report include accruing carbon credits by manufacturing energy-saving glass products, to stimulate a reduction in carbon emissions.

It also recommends a number of ways of increasing container glass recycling from domestic and commercial premises and collection and further use of glass from demolition sites.

British Glass director general David Workman said: “The reality is that there is much common ground between industry and government.

“Glass industry stakeholders have made significant progress in reducing the amount of energy and CO2 associated with the supply chain.

“This has resulted in environmental, social and economic benefits.

“Through innovative research and development, the manufacturing sector has produced products which are not only world beaters but are in themselves capable of reducing adverse environmental impacts.

“Through extensive investment, manufacturing has become highly efficient and the UK’s performance will stand favourable comparison with the rest of the world.

“We believe that by forming a much closer collaborative relationship with government we can deliver further elements of this sustainability programme which will meet the needs of the environment, the wider community, the industry itself and the people who derive their employment from it.”

By Sam Bond

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