A new survey has revealed some striking results regarding New Zealander’s perceptions of glass packaging. Of those who participated in the survey, 97 percent said that they prefer to drink beer out of a glass bottle, and 90 percent said they agreed or strongly agreed that food and beverages taste better in glass.

The survey was conducted by the country’s only glass bottle manufacturer, O-I New Zealand, in support of some of Aotearoa’s top craft breweries, who took the opportunity to survey attendees at the Wellington Food Show on their thoughts and knowledge about glass.

“Sustainable packaging for food and beverages is very much a global topical issue at the moment,” said Bayard Sinnema O-I’s Australia New Zealand Business Manager. “The Food Show provided an important opportunity for us to survey people, and we were happy that more than 400 people who visited our Brewers’ Lane stand gave us their views.”

“We also received interesting feedback about whether glass packaging conveys a message about products attracting a premium price with 76 percent of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that they would pay a premium for food and beverages packaged in glass.”

Sinnema added that O-I was surprised by the comparatively low level of awareness that glass is infinitely recyclable. “Only 58 percent of people surveyed knew that glass is infinitely recyclable. The survey also revealed that 33 percent of respondents were unsure if glass packaging is infinitely recyclable. That means we’ve got more work to do telling the story of glass as a truly sustainable packaging option.”

Lee Brown, Sprig & Fern Brewery General Manager said that the infinite recyclability of glass is an important consideration for Sprig & Fern Brewery and its customers. “Here at Sprig & Fern, we take into consideration not only the recyclability but also the reusability of our consumer offering.”

“We spent considerable project development time working with O-I New Zealand and our other suppliers to ensure our new to market 888ml offering had a resealable cap, enabling our consumers to not only recycle but also refill and reuse the vessels at one of our Sprig & Fern Taverns nationwide.”

Brown also revealed that Sprig & Fern Brewery was drawn to using glass for its sustainability but also because glass provides a longer shelf life for their products, helping to maintain product quality and consistency in line with the Brewery’s brand values. “We feel that our new 888ml Sprig & Fern craft range presents our product in a vessel design that reflects the true nature of our artisan product in the market.”

James Cooper, co-owner of Lakeman Brewing Company, agrees that glass being infinitely recyclable is a huge consideration for both his brewery and customers. “People are changing their ways and coming around to sustainability,” explained Cooper. “At the end of the day, glass is a great product that’s easier on the environment.”

Eddie Gapper managing director of Altitude Brewing added that although recyclability is important to him and his customers, “unfortunately glass has gone directly to landfill in the Wakatipu because our waste management systems are completely deficient.”

“Our understanding,” explained Sinnema, “after speaking with Penny Garland, Regional Cullet Manager for O-I Asia Pacific, is that as of 1 July 2019, Queenstown Lakes District Council will be introducing a glass kerbside collection service for ratepayers.

“The glass will be collected in wheelie bins before being transported to the O-I hub in Christchurch,” said Sinnema. “From there it will be coastally shipped to Auckland for recycling at our plant in Penrose, Auckland.”