Sustainable Glass

Sustainability and the Environment

Glass industries are investing significant resources in intensive programmes to develop new ways to use glass, to make available new products, to improve recyclability and effective recycling, as well as to improve the energy efficiency of manufacturing sites. These sustained efforts are helping the glass industries to stay ahead of technological innovation, ensuring the worldwide competitiveness of glass products manufactured in the EU, and to satisfy the demand of European customers in terms of quality, performance, design and environmental-friendly materials.

Mitigate climate change

The EU aims to be carbon neutral by 2050 and the glass industry is working on decarbonisation strategies to address climate change like the transition from fossil fuel to carbon neutral energy for the melting process. But glass is also a strategic material for the renewable energy technologies that will enable the climate neutral transition as well as being the material that provides energy savings in our homes, offices and in the transport sectors.

Save natural resources

Glass is a resource efficient material which is made of abundant natural raw materials locally sourced, such as sand and recycled glass. Glass is a fully recyclable material that can be recycled in a closed loop. Thanks to glass recycling, significant amounts of raw materials are saved, and natural resources are preserved.

Safeguard people’s health and well-being

Glass is among the preferred materials not only for its aesthetics but also for its inherent properties. Glass preserves food and beverages to safeguard taste and vitamins. It is also commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry to preserve the properties of medicines. On the other side of the medical spectrum, optical glass helps improve the vision of millions of Europeans.

Glass and the Future

Glass is everywhere to meet our societal needs

Glass has unlimited potential, and its applications are constantly evolving. It is used in combination with high-tech applications. Its role in health and comfort is indispensable. It preserves European heritage and is a key actor in local communities.

Some areas of R&D for the future of glass

Special coatings for buildings: Smart mirrors and highly insulating glass windows
Anti-reflection properties and technologies for clean energy generation
Increased strength of lightweight composite materials, enabling larger wind rotor blades for higher power output and the weight reduction of vehicles.
Functional integration in glass that can then become ideal for LED lighting, touch screens, audiovisual displays, etc.
But also bendable glass, scratch resistance, audio glass, thinner glass and much more.

To further increase glass properties, fundamental research is needed. It requires substantial investments, but positive research outcomes could open up unlimited opportunities.