Glassmakers took part in a panel discussion to mark the International Year of Glass

The United Nations designated 2022 as the International Year of Glass, the first time a man-made material was chosen for worldwide attention.

On 16 November, Glass Alliance Europe marked the occasion with an event gathering policy makers and stakeholders at the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union in Brussels.

A panel discussion discussed the importance of glass as a material to help the transition to sustainability.

The event, organised by trade association Glass Alliance Europe, was held to celebrate the United Nations International Year of Glass (IYOG).

The panel discussion included FEVE President Vitaliano Torno, who discssed the Cicular Economy.

Opening the event, Maive Rute, Deputy Director-General, DG GROW, European Commission said: “Glass can play an important role as a material, helping to enable our green and digital transition and supporting our society in achieving long-term sustainability and prosperity.

“The glass industry has a long and rooted tradition in Europe, and we must work to ensure that it is able to continue operating in our continent at competitive conditions.”

Barbara Schretter, Director of the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union, added, “Europe is home to many glass producers who are helping to turn Europe into a prosperous and sustainable economy and society”.

Glass retains its properties no matter how many times it is recycled.

Speaking on how glass can enable a world without waste, Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea, Director of Circular Economy, DG ENVI, European Commission, welcomed, “the glass industry efforts to deliver on the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan to ensure that waste is prevented and the resources used are kept in the EU economy for as long as possible.”

Glass plays a key role as a high-tech material vital to the energy performance, safety, security and comfort of our homes, offices, buildings and cars and is essential to make Europe fit for sustainable living.

Anne-Katharina Weidenbach, Energy Efficiency expert at the Cabinet of Commissioner Simson (DG Energy), was among the panellists to discuss how glass will contribute to sustainable living and will be crucial to green energy production in Europe.

The glass industry is committed to ensuring that greenhouse gas emissions from glass production drop substantially in the next decades.

MEP Monika Hohlmeier along with UNIDO’s Managing Director Gunther Beger highlighted the challenges of decarbonisation and the importance of sharing best practices emerging from the glass industry’s roadmaps towards a climate neutral Europe.