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Celebrations across the world mark the International Year of Glass

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Celebrations across the world mark the International Year of Glass

Glass has been a touchpoint of celebration, commerce, culture and science for over two thousand years – now, 2022 is being marked as the ‘International Year of Glass’, with hundreds of events taking place around the world to celebrate the unique characteristics of glass in all its forms.

What is the International Year of Glass?

An ancient material with a rich cultural heritage, glass is more important to modern life than ever before: versatile and easily innovated, it is a potential enabler of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. That is why, in May 2021, the UN General Assembly formally declared 2022 as the International Year of Glass (IYOG), celebrating the pivotal role that glass has played in our society for thousands of years.

 The IYOG marks a perfect opportunity to better showcase why glass remains the best material for achieving a sustainable future for us and for the planet. However, celebrations of glass already started across the globe as early as summer 2021. 

 

Celebrating glass around the world

August 2021: Indian students celebrated the coming Year of Glass in artistic style

 In August 2021, students in India celebrated the upcoming Year of Glass through art. At the virtual annual general meeting from the All India Glass Manufacturers’ Federation (AIGMF), glass lovers from 7 to 24 years old were encouraged to submit their creative photos for a touring photography exhibition entitled ‘Glass in our Lives’.   The exhibition received 7000 entries from India’s youth, with the jury awarding prizes to the top 3 photos.  Explore the entries here!

This event is just one of the thousands set to take place over the next year, as glass lovers around the world are launching their own events, competitions and exhibitions to pay tribute to the wonders of glass. 

 

February 2022: International Year of Glass launches with Geneva celebrations

Celebrations for the International Year of Glass kicked off with a two-day Opening Ceremony in Geneva at the UN Palace of Nations. Bringing together glass communities from across the world, the programme features 30 renowned speakers to share the latest scientific and technical insights, and thoughts on how glass will be key to shaping the sustainable society of the future in line with the UN 2030 Agenda. Catch up here!

The ceremony in Geneva is the culmination of five years of effort by the International Year of Glass Council to acknowledge the mark glass has made – and continues to make – on civilisation. Glass has accompanied humankind for centuries, as one of the most important, versatile, and transformative materials in history. Used in everything from packaging food and drink in containers, to vaccine distribution, glass is a leading example of sustainable packaging – and its footprint also extends to construction, medicine and dentistry, communication technology, and beyond. As efforts to build a truly sustainable future accelerate, glass is an ideal packaging for adopting sustainable production and consumption patterns including reuse and recycling.

Representing the International Year of Glass Council, John Parker commented:

“Whether you’re a brand looking to make your product stand out, or a consumer keen to celebrate an iconic material, 2022 is the year to recognise glass for its many proven credentials and build on a longstanding cultural heritage for example by advancing its contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Europe enjoys the world’s highest glass recycling rates, and significant progress has been made in glass manufacturing in recent years to increase sustainable production and consumption. There is further potential to progress towards a climate-neutral Circular Economy, by moving to renewable energies and advancing the sustainable use of natural resources. This all starts with encouraging more people to choose and recycle glass, to appreciate its recycling and reuse as an inherent part of our future consumption patterns, and to do it right, so that more glass ends back in new production loops.”

 

Throughout 2022: Glass goes global  

The Opening Ceremony is just the start! With the IYOG receiving over 1100 endorsements from around 74 countries, there’s sure to be a celebration of glass somewhere near you.  Whether you’re interested in art, science, history, technology or business, there’s something for everyone and there will be plenty of opportunities to celebrate glass in between the official opening in Geneva in February and the closing ceremony in Japan at the end of the year.

We’ve highlighted some of the larger events for you here, from the different sectors.  

Technology and business 

  • ‘Glasspex/Glasspro’ in Mumbai in March; 
  • ‘International High-Tech Industrial Congress’ in Shanghai in April; 
  • ‘GLASSMAN’ in Monterrey in May; 
  • The International Congress on Glass (ICG) 2022 in Berlin in July; 
  • ‘Glasstech’ in Düsseldorf in September. 

Art, culture and history 

  • The US National Day of Glass in April 
  • ‘International Festival of Art’ in Stourbridge, UK; 
  • ‘Iberoamerican International Congress of Women in Glass: Artists and Scientists’ in Madrid; 
  • ‘From Pharaohs to High Tech Glass in Egypt’ exhibition in King Tutankhamun’s Tomb.   

 

Join in the celebrations  

You, too, can be a part of these special celebrations!  With over 1000 special events planned, you won’t have to look too far to get involved.  This is undoubtedly an exciting time for glass, with industry initiatives such as Close The Glass Loop and the Glass Hallmark all coinciding with this special year-long celebration of glass. 

In short, it’s time to celebrate the past, present, and future of this iconic material, and reflect on how glass is driving progress towards the UN Agenda 2030 goals​. That’s why the container glass industry invites all brands, customers, and retailers to join in the celebrations, to promote, enjoy and recycle products in glass as the packaging of tomorrow, for the health of the public and the planet.

With glass in the spotlight like never before, it’s time to retell the story of this fascinating material and to share the many reasons why glass is the best packaging material – now, and for generations to come. Download our interactive toolkit to discover what glass brings to society.

Want to know more about the UN International Year of Glass? Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

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