Sustainability & the Environment
Glass is a sustainable, fully recyclable material which provides great environmental benefits such as contributing to mitigating climate change and saving precious natural resources. It is also highly appreciated in many applications for its inert nature and its contributions to safeguarding people’s health ad well being.
Mitigate climate change
In many of its application glass can help to save energy. It is most obvious in the case for insulating glass for windows and facades but also for less known products such as weight-lightening reinforcement glass fibre used in automotive, aviation and other transport modes to reduce the weight of vehicle and their fuel consumption.
Glass is also used to generate renewable energy through solar-thermal and photovoltaic applications and wind turbine, which largely profit from light weight reinforcement glass fibres.
Save natural resources
Glass is a resource efficient material which is made of abundant natural raw material such as sand and glass waste (cullets). Glass is a fully recyclable material that can be recycled in close loop over and over again.
This is particularly true for glass bottles which on average have a recycling rate varying from 50% to 80%. Thanks to glass recycling, significant amounts of raw materials are saved and natural resources are preserved. Glass recycling also helps in saving energy as cullets melt at a lower temperature than raw materials. Consequently, less energy is required for the melting process.
In other glass sectors, considerable efforts are made to recycle glass after use even though each sector has its own specificities and quality requirements. The amount of solid waste produced by the glass industries during manufacturing is extremely low in the glass industries as almost all glass waste (cullets) are immediately recycled and put back to furnaces to serve as raw material.
Safeguard people’s health and well-being
Glass is among the preferred materials not only for its aesthetics but also for its own characteristics. Glass preserves taste and vitamins. As an inert material, it guarantees that food and beverages placed in glass containers are not stained by the packaging. It is also commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry to preserve the properties of medicines. In another side of the medical sector, optical glass helps improve the vision of millions of Europeans.
In construction as well, architects not only use large glazed areas for their energy-saving properties but also because they provide natural light into buildings which enhance living and working conditions of occupants. Studies show that glass in buildings, through all these benefits, contribute to people’s well-being and improved health conditions.