My new role at British Glass is extremely challenging as the issues facing the industry are diverse and complex. Decisions taken now will have long-lasting consequences. Overall it is an exciting role within the industry. My initial experiences have confirmed the central role sustainable development will play in the future of the industry and highlighted the amazing progress it has made, although as an industry we have been relatively slow to highlight this.
Why did you choose to join British Glass?
This was not an easy decision, I loved my time at Rockware and never stopped learning and being challenged. It was also hard to leave such a well established team but the change to working at an industry level and the wider role the new job gives me represented a unique opportunity.
What is the biggest challenge facing the glass industry as a whole?
Global competition in all glass sectors is our biggest challenge, both between companies, countries and with alternative materials.
The UK glass industry will continue to grow because consumer demand is strong. The glass manufacturers will continue to improve productivity, quality, service, innovation and value against the background of increasing competition and environmental legislation.
Where does recycling come on the list of priorities?
Recycling is a key element for glass. Recycling provides the industry with an opportunity to claw back some of the additional costs of energy and environmental legislation. Good recycling is also a key quality for glass as a material; customers increasingly include environmental factors when choosing materials and suppliers.
How achievable are the 2008 glass-packaging recovery targets?
The targets are hugely challenging. Given the capacity of more than 1 million tonnes in the container sector for recycled glass of the correct colours, existing alternative markets and the forecasts made by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) for higher-value alternative markets, the demand appears to be there.
But can collection grow rapidly enough? Will Government continue to fund collection to the extent it has so far? Will collection systems deliver glass in sufficient volume, and in the right form and quality so all markets can use it? Can sufficient treatment capacity be brought on-stream in time?
And can a level of co-operation be achieved between closed-loop and alternative markets, given the market-driven nature of our packaging waste regulations? At least 120,000 tonnes of growth is needed each year for the next five years, and the industry is modelling the market flows for glass to find a more complete answer to this question.
What is the biggest barrier to increasing recycling?
How much do you think the national awareness campaign will help glass recycling?
Public participation is essential for success, the national awareness campaign will help boost participation and this will benefit all recycling. The glass sector was a proactive supporter of the Rethink Rubbish campaign and is actively supporting the new WRAP team as they develop their work. They are professional and committed and I am keen to ensure our activity is complimentary.
What are your hopes for the future with British Glass?
I hope British Glass can continue to develop a constructive working relationship with teams at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Waste Implementation Programme and WRAP.
I think British Glass needs to take a leadership role in breaking down barriers between the glass industry, market development agencies and the new markets themselves. We must create an open and pragmatic dialogue.
The industry needs to be clearer and more consistent in its communications to local authorities. This is extremely challenging across 450 different sets of local circumstances and a diverse and