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New Lightweight Glass Packaging

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Thursday 23 June 2005

A new research project to reduce the amount of household glass waste being sent to landfill has been launched this month.

At present there are 2.4m tonnes of container glass in circulation in the UK annually and less than one million tonnes of this amount is recovered through recycling schemes. This potentially leaves over a million tonnes destined for landfill.

The aim of the project is to minimise the amount of glass used in packaging by manufacturing lighter bottles and jars. The pilot phase of the project should produce an immediate saving of over 7,000 tonnes less glass going to landfill. This is expected to increase to approximately 150,000 tonnes per year as other brand owners follow the lead taken by the project participants.

The project is a collaborative venture which brings together WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme), funding the project; the Faraday Packaging Partnership, leading the project; Glass Technology Services Ltd (GTS), conducting the technical audit, brand owners together with the glass container manufacturing industry led by its trade organisation, British Glass.

The main role of Glass Technology Services is to conduct a technical audit. At first, this will focus specifically on the containers undergoing trial. WRAP is providing funding to the sum of £550,000 for the initial development of prototype containers. Production trials of the new designs will be integral to bringing about an understanding of lightweighting limits, to enable the design of new mould equipment and to test its use. Last but not least GTS will undertake the product performance testing to qualify the new glassware as 'fit for purpose' in the commercial world.

Dave Dalton, General Manager of Glass Technology Services, says: "We are looking forward to the prospect of working with Faraday Packaging Partnership and WRAP on this initiative which, for the first time, gives an active role to the glass container manufacturing companies.  I'm sure with their input we will make great strides towards realising the full potential of light-weighting glass containers and the positive impact this will have on the environment."

The glass industry is playing a very active part in the research project and full scale production trials have been agreed for a range of product lines in different manufacturing sites and it is anticipated that these will be completed by September 2005. This means that within the life of the project new lightweight containers will be introduced, resulting in substantial reductions in household waste.

The project is to be co-ordinated by Faraday Packaging Partnership through a consortium made up of people working in industry and academia, including Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd, Coors Brewers and Heinz plus engagement with the glass container industry through British Glass.

Dr Walter Lewis, Managing Director of Faraday Packaging Partnership, says: "We are very excited to be leading one of WRAP's largest projects and to be working with a group of world class experts to deliver the project's objectives. An excellent start has been made and we look forward to participating in this and future potential projects."

Other partners are also involved: An initial market audit is to be conducted by Leeds University Business School to identify 'target' containers, ie those containers that manufacturers produce in large volume. The whole project will then be underpinned by an audit to evaluate consumer perceptions of the new containers, to be conducted by the Institute of Psychological Sciences at the University of Leeds.


Notes to Editors

1. Glass Technology Services
Glass Technology Services, an independent subsidiary of British Glass, offers technical, analytical and consultancy services serving a global client base covering all those who manufacture, work with, or use glass.
www.glass-ts.com

2. British Glass
The British Glass Manufacturers' Confederation represents the interests of all sectors of the glass industry in the UK. Its main activity is in representing the industry at European, national and local level on a wide range of topical legislative issues. It also conducts independent research into all aspects of glass production and technology.
www.britglass.org.uk

3. Faraday Packaging Partnership
Faraday Packaging Partnership, established in 1997, is a powerful R&D network led by the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York.  It is a unique resource to generate innovative, new thinking for the design, manufacture and supply of FMCG packaging.
www.faradaypackaging.com




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