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New Project Helps Glass Packaging Lose Weight

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Tuesday 15 January 2008

Food retailers and brand owners are being invited to take part in a series of trials to lightweight glass containers. If successful, the project could save 65,000 tonnes of glass and 48,000 tonnes of carbon emissions by 2009 - the equivalent of taking 28,000 cars off the road.

GlassRite Food, a new project funded by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) will promote the use of innovative lightweight glass containers for food prolducts, soft drinks and flavoured alcoholic beverages (FABs). The project is led by R& D Specialists Faraday Packaging Partnership with support from both Glass Technology Services (GTS) Ltd and trade association, British Glass. Several leading manufacturers, including Allied Glass, O-I, Rockware Glass, Beatson Clark and Quinn Glass, have already agreed to participate and the project team is now calling on retailers and brand owners to sign up.

The project aims to save 20,000 tonnes of glass by its completion in March 2008, and to roll-out the project results to create momentum for a further 45,000 tonnes to be saved in the first year following the project.

Container designs will be put through rigorous trials by GTS to test their strength and practicality. Experts from the University of Wales, Bangor, will conduct detailed consumer perception tests, while hi-tech wireless sensors will be placed inside containers to assess performance during handling, filling and packaging.

Nicola Jenkin from WRAP's retail innovation team said "GlassRite Food is a tremendous opportunity for retailers and brand owners to explore and trial the benefits of lightweight glass with a cross sector of industry experts.

"With the food, FAB and soft drink sectors accounting for 34% of the UK's total container glass use, even a moderate reduction in container weight could deliver significant cost savings while reducing carbon emissions and glass waste."

Dr Walter Lewis, Faraday Packaging Partnership Managing Director agrees, saying, "By taking designs from the drawing board to the supermarket shelf, GlassRite Food will provide important new insights into the practical and commercial opportunities for lightweight containers. Previous trials have shown that lightweight glass packaging can be strong, practical and popular with consumers, while maintaining brand identity."

Brand owners and retailers who want to find out more about GlassRite Food should contact Nicola Jenkin in WRAP's Retail Innovation team on 01295 819609 or  nicola.jenkin@wrap.org.uk

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