UN Officially Declares 2022 as the International Year of Glass

Next year will be a big year for the glass industry, as the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly has declared 2022 the International Year of Glass (IYOG). The news comes after a number of organizations submitted petitions in March.

On May 18 during a plenary meeting, Spain’s representative introduced the text and described glass as a “biomaterial par excellence,” born thousands of years ago in the cradle of civilization. According to the U.N., celebrations during the year will help advance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda, which aims to create a more fair, peaceful and sustainable world for the planet and its inhabitants by 2030.

The International Commission on Glass (ICG), along with the Community of Glass Associations (CGA) and International Committee for Museums and Collections of Glass (ICOM-Glass) had presented the application to the U.N. General Assembly. David Pye, a former IGC president, learned in 2014 that the assembly would declare 2015 an International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies. He arranged for the International Journal of Applied Glass Science to present “Glass and Light,” according to the IYOG website.

The promoters said an International Year of Glass would “underline the scientific and economic importance of glass in developing and improving the performance of the key technologies, which can help us face the challenges of a sustainable society …” Glass can “facilitate the emergence of more developed, just, and sustainable societies to meet the challenges of globalization.”

In their proposal to the U.N., glass-related organizations said the material is environmentally friendly, because it’s made from “safe, readily available raw materials,” such as sand, soda ash and limestone. The material can also be reused any number of times, they point out, and the industry is working toward more efficient methods for recycling. Through lower melting points, the goal is for manufacturing to eventually become carbon-neutral, they noted.

Regarding why 2022 is the year to consider, promoters pointed to several related industry milestones, including the 70th anniversary of the first float glass patent secured by Pilkington, which they say forever changed the industry. “In the last century, float glass has come to dominate our architectural skyline and solar panels take a major role in the energy market, while in the art world it has transcended its classification as a craft material, becoming integrated into the fine arts,” they said. “Glass has proven to be one of the most important materials enabling the development of contemporary human civilization … This enduring effect of glass on modern society has led some to propose that we are now living in The Glass Age.”

Efforts to make 2022 the Year of Glass received more than 1,100 endorsements from 74 countries.

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