Glass & Environment: exploring a paradox

John Stockdale

British Glass

The environmental credentials of all processes and products are under increasing scrutiny- especially in terms of carbon. Glass manufacturers use a range of important mineral resources and are responsible for a range of environmental impacts. Products and components themselves have impacts in use and after use. Some products are considered essential, others might be considered inessential or eventually as having no place in a truly sustainable society, they might be considered an environmental luxury or potentially substitutable. Here then lies a potential paradox; given our knowledge of the impacts of the industry and its products, what value should be placed on glass? Can we enhance the good aspects of the world of glass whilst removing, minimising or accommodating any negative impacts? How should the glass sector be judged and how should the industry approach the future?