glasstec 2010 president declares recession 'a word of the past' in Germany

Sahely Mukerji, Glass Magazine
September 28, 2010
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, AUTO, FABRICATION

Martin Gregor Gutmann, president, glasstec 2010, presented the first speech at the "Opening of glasstec and solarpeq 2010 and Special Show glass technology live," Sept. 28, at the Dusseldorf fairgrounds in Germany. The show runs Sept. 28-Oct. 1.

"The light at the end of the tunnel of the economic recession is switched on," Gutmann said. "The 21st glasstec is an economic barometer showing a new high. The recession is a word of the past. Last year, in Germany, almost 2.5 million shows took place with 300 million visitors in 600 cities across the country. That shows that the recession is over."

Even though glasstec is 40 years old this year, Gutmann said, "this fair can be traced back to the 11th century when it was a craft fair of the churches. It has grown by leaps and bounds since then," he said. The last glasstec covered more than 68,000 square meters of space, attracted more than 1,200 exhibitors from 50 countries, and 55,000 visitors, 58 percent of whom were from abroad, he said.

This year, glasstec offers a revised structure. "Solar and glass go together," he said. "Among the 1,200 exhibitors, 160 have registered for solarpeq. Solar was a part of glasstec in 2008 as glass energy, and 150 companies participated."

Gunther Horzetzky, state secretary at the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, was up next. “We are observing an upswing in the economy,” he said. “Even though glass is 5,000 years old, it’s been reinvented time and again. It’s a material of the future and a source of alternative energy, because the raw materials of glass are inexhaustible and 80 percent of container glass is recycled.”

Professor Michael Braungart, Erasmus University Rotterdam, University of Twente, and founder and scientific director of EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung GmbH, Hamburg, presented “Cradle to Cradle as Chance for Innovation – What Will be the Future for Glass as a Raw Material?”

Glass consumes a lot of energy when manufactured, but that’s a shortsighted view, he said. “Our aim is zero emission, which is impossible. The point is to be as useful as possible, not the least polluted. Why are we not interested in efficiency, but only in less pollution? We need to do the right thing and not do the things that are right; not create a world without waste, but use waste in a useful manner, in organic natural cycles. So, why aren’t we using glass as a service item?”, he asked attendees.

Glass is a technical nutrient and has to be processed differently, Braungart said. “Do not reduce carbon footprint, but use your footprint to recycle and reintroduce. Glass can be used endlessly, and can really be the material of the future."