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2022 – UN International Year of Glass

The United Nations has declared 2022 as the International Year of Glass to shine a light on a traditional, sustainable, and innovative technology.

Colorful stained glass window

A colorful stained window – one of many uses of glass.

© iStockphoto.com/agsandrew

What Is the Year of Glass?

On May 18, 2021, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the UN resolution 75/279 declaring 2022 the International Year of Glass to “shine a light on the role of glass in our societies” and show how technologies like glass can contribute to sustainable development.

Why Glass?

Every year, the United Nations chooses several topics that will become a focus area for one year. In 2022, these topics are glass and artisanal fishery. The spotlight on glass is meant to highlight how a traditional product can be a part of sustainable development.

Humans have been using glass for thousands of years. Today, glass is an important part of our lives: We use glass to build cars and aeroplanes, houses and sculptures; we use it to communicate at the speed of light using fiber optics in our internet cables; we use glass to see more with microscopic lenses and to save energy with insulation.

Glass production is a good example of the progress that has been made in decades and centuries considering energy consumption and emission, and of the need for a sustainable use of resources like sand.

An Alternative to Plastics?

According to the UN, glass can serve as an alternative to plastics and can contribute to sustainable production and consumption. Glass can provide opportunities and innovations like:

  • display panels
  • ultra-thin sensor glass
  • lenses and optical microscopes
  • medical equipment
  • photovoltaic glass
  • reinforced plastics
  • insulation

The Goals

The International Year of Glass helps UN member states and all who participate in the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to help achieve sustainable development in three dimensions: economic, social, and environmental. The UN asks its member states to:

  • advance innovative pathways to achieving sustainable consumption and production
  • promote sustainable consumer behavior, including glass reuse and recycling
  • and to use educational programs and museum exhibitions to bring together the threads of technology, social history, and art

Topics: UN Year