08 February 2007, 14:45 PM
  • Retailers and brand owners could reduce carbon emissions by as much as 48,000 tonnes by 2009 if they use lightweight glass containers.

In a project named GlassRite Food, the Waste and Resources Action Programmes (WRAP), a non-profit organisation and part of the Government’s waste strategies, wants to encourage food professionals to take part in trials of lightweight glass containers.

Nicola Jenkin, WRAP retail innovation team, says, “With the food, flavoured alcoholic beverage and soft drink sector accounting for 34% of the UK’s total container glass use, even a moderate reduction in weight could deliver significant cost savings, while reducing carbon emissions and glass waste.”

The organisation believes that up to 65,000 tonnes of glass could be saved by 2009, with a reduction of emissions amounting to removing 28,000 cars from the road.

New container designs will be put through rigorous tests to gauge their strength, practicality and consumer appeal. Experts from the University of Wales, Bangor, will conduct detailed consumer perception tests, while wireless sensors will be placed inside containers to assess performance during handling, filling and packaging.

The project is the continuation of previous lightweight glass trials by WRAP, which could result in an annual saving of 32,000 tonnes of glass, and already helped the launch of the lightweight 300ml Grolsch beer bottle.

Dr Walter Lewis, managing director of Faraday Packaging Partnership, the research and development specialist, which will lead GlassRite Food, says, “By taking designs from the drawing board to the supermarket shelf, the project will provide important new insight 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 maintening brand identity. We are confident that these benefits can also be delivered to the food sector,” he adds.