British Glass questions glass-to-plastics switch

Date: 17 January 2012
British Glass has hit back at claims plastic packaging can cut carbon emissions compared to its glass equivalent.

The organisation has argued that glass’s recyclability should not be forgotten when supermarkets and other end users of packaging consider its green credentials, and that a ‘whole-life’ approach should be taken rather than focusing purely on weight.

Its comments come after jam and spread manufacturer Duerr’s last month publicly announced a £100,000 investment in new equipment to pack Sainsbury’s own-brand peanut butter in PET rather than glass jars.

Duerr’s director Richard Duerr told the Manchester Evening News last month that the investment was “a major step forward for packaging and will significantly contribute to reducing carbon emissions”.

Rebecca Cocking, head of container affairs at British Glass, said: “While we applaud the great strides being made by the supermarkets to reduce packaging and waste in their operations, we do strongly disagree with the claim that plastic packaging is per se a greener choice than glass.

“Less weight does mean lower fuel costs and reduced CO2, but to claim therefore that plastic is greener is misguided.

“We believe a more comprehensive, whole process approach that takes into account everything from raw material extraction to end disposal is required to truly understand the true environmental relative impact of packaging materials.”

Sainsbury’s made the switch in September as part of its overall aim to reduce the overall weight of its own-label packaging by a third by 2015.

At the time of their launch, Sainsbury’s head of packaging Stuart Lendrum said: “Our work on peanut butter is a great example of how you can reduce packaging without sacrificing its effectiveness. In fact, the new jars will be less prone to breaking making them even better than the previous ones.”

600450 British Glass questions glass-to-plastics switch

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