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Consumers say 'Yes!' to recycled glass packaging, reports WRAP

Post Time:Sep 16,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:296

A new study shows consumers are just as likely to buy products in jars and bottles made with mixed-color recycled glass as they are to purchase items in clear glass packaging—a finding that should boost demand for containers with high recycled content.

The research was commissioned by the U.K.’s WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) to support the sector in achieving the environmental and resource efficiency benefits of diverting mixed-color recycled glass away from landfill and low-value end uses such as aggregates and into higher-value container glass manufacture. The results of the study will also benefit the recycling industry in the U.K. by providing confidence in the demand for more mixed-color recycled glass.

Conducted in partnership with Sainsbury’s, the study looked at consumer attitudes to food and drink products in glass packaging with a slightly green hue—the color produced when it contains a high percentage of mixed-color recycled glass.

By comparing participants’ perceptions of a range of common product—from mayonnaise and preserves to wines and spirits—packaged in both recycled and clear glass containers, the study found that the color change did not have a detrimental effect in most cases.

Mayonnaise was the only product that consumers preferred in a clear glass container. Otherwise, product approval ratings were similar regardless of container color; and in the case of jam, consumers actually preferred it in a high recycled-content glass jar.

Marcus Gover, director of market development at WRAP, says, "WRAP’s study suggests that, in the majority of cases, consumers are just as likely to buy food and drink products in containers with over 90 percent mixed-color recycled-glass content as they are to purchase products in clear glass packaging.

"This study should give retailers the confidence to use more recycled glass in their products, in the knowledge that it will not adversely affect sales. This is good news for the recycling industry, as it could help to stimulate a high-value market for mixed-color recycled glass in the U.K. This in turn may provide the impetus to divert more of this glass away from landfill and secondary markets and into closed-loop recycling."

Paula Chin, packaging technologist – Grocery, of Sainsbury’s, says, "Sainsbury’s has an ongoing commitment to reduce the amount of packaging we use, to increase recyclability of that packaging, and increase the level of recycled content. Glass is a significant portion of total retail packaging weight so any glass-related initiative is of interest to us. But ultimately it’s all about getting the customer offer right, and if our customers are interested, we are interested. The positive results from this small-scale study would give Sainsbury’s the confidence to explore further the opportunity to use recycled glass containers."

Large-scale trial underway
WRAP is also currently tendering for a large-scale trial to manufacture containers with a mixed-color recycled-glass content of over 90%. The project will include sourcing mixed-color recycled glass, processing this material to a standard sufficient for the remelt market, and manufacturing fit-for-purpose, glass containers with high recycled content. The work aims to consume at least 30,000 tonnes of mixed-color recycled glass otherwise destined for landfill or secondary markets, which will deliver at least 18,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide reduction, WRAP says.

To complement the consumer study and trial, WRAP also conducted research into the additional processing required for glass recyclate from Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) to meet the quality required for remelt applications.

The intention of this work is to stimulate a market in the U.K. for glass currently collected in mixed-color format, so that glass processors view it as an attractive processing option for container manufacture markets. It will also demonstrate how the material can be used as a feedstock to produce high recycled-content glass containers suitable for a range of different products and acceptable to retailers, brands, and consumers.

Source: greenerpackage.comAuthor: shangyi

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