Celebrations for the International Year of Glass started today with a two-day Opening Ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland at the UN Palace of Nations.

Bringing together glass communities from across the world, the programme features 30 speakers who will share the latest scientific and technical insights, and thoughts on how glass will be key to shaping the sustainable society of the future in line with the UN 2030 Agenda.

The ceremony in Geneva is the culmination of five years of effort by the International Year of Glass Council to acknowledge the mark glass has made – and continues to make – on civilisation.

Glass has accompanied humankind for centuries, as one of the most important, versatile, and transformative materials in history.

Used in everything from packaging food and drink in containers, to vaccine distribution, glass is a leading example of sustainable packaging – and its footprint also extends to construction, medicine and dentistry, communication technology, and beyond.

Glass is an ideal packaging for adopting sustainable production and consumption patterns including reuse and recycling.

Vitaliano Torno, President of the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE) and O-I Glass’ President of Business Operations & O-I Europe, said: Glass is endlessly recyclable, guarantees quality and safety no matter how many times it’s recycled and it’s virtually inert.

"It’s the healthy choice, it is beautiful, it builds brands, and it is loved by people of all generations. That’s what makes it the perfect choice for brands, retailers and consumers alike.”

To this end, a recent report on consumer trends published by FEVE researched over 150 expert reports to understand what drives consumer behaviour, and how brands and retailers can leverage these trends in the years to come.

The results confirm that glass directly addresses consumers’ priorities: more than ever, people care about environmental sustainability and circularity, hand in hand with prioritising their own health and wellness.

"This extends to the products they purchase and the packaging those products come in.

"Fortunately, when it comes to packaging that delivers both on environmental credentials and helping brands tell their story authentically to today’s consumers, glass is at the front of the pack.

Representing the International Year of Glass Council, John Parker said:

Whether you’re a brand looking to make your product stand out, or a consumer keen to celebrate an iconic material, 2022 is the year to recognise glass for its many proven credentials and build on a longstanding cultural heritage for example by advancing its contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

"Europe enjoys the world’s highest glass recycling rates, and significant progress has been made in glass manufacturing in recent years to increase sustainable production and consumption.

"There is further potential to progress towards a climate-neutral Circular Economy, by moving to renewable energies and advancing the sustainable use of natural resources.

"This all starts with encouraging more people to choose and recycle glass, to appreciate its recycling and reuse as an inherent part of our future consumption patterns, and to do it right, so that more glass ends back in new production loops.”

For more information on how you can participate in the International Year of Glass celebrations, please visit https://iyog2022.org.