Gaïa and Infinite Glass

In Greek mythology, Gaïa is a primordial goddess identified with “Mother Earth”. She is the maternal ancestor of divine races, but laboured also many children as monsters.

photo: Eon and Tellus (Gaia) surrounded by four children, perhaps the personified seasons, mosaic of a Roman villa Sentinum early third century, Glyptothèque Munich (Inv. W504)

The French glass manufacturer Saint-Gobain Desjonqueres SA created Infinite Glass, the 1st 100% recycled glass, from which sprouted the Gaia range of bottles and jars, designed by the design agency Extrême Paris and dedicated to the perfume and cosmetics market segment.

Glass, endlessly recyclable, is known to be one of the most environmentally friendly materials. Although 100% recyclable, its composition is never 100% the result of recycling.
Cullet, a raw material used by glassmakers, coming from selected glass waste and reintroduced into the glassmaking process, can account for up to 95% of the raw materials used for glass manufacturing. On average, cullet makes up 53% of the raw materials used for packaging containers.
In the perfume industry, glass is usually composed of 30% of in-house cullet (recycling of the production loss) and 70% of raw materials (silica sand, limestone and soda ash).

Using a higher level of cullet in the glass production enables lower (virgin) raw material extractions, lower carbon dioxide emissions as each metric ton of cullet used in the furnaces results in a CO2-reduction emitted into the atmosphere of around 500 kg and lower energy consumption, since collected glass melts at a lower temperature than natural raw materials.

Glassmakers’ performance is dictated by the requirements of excellence in terms of quality imposed by their customers, albeit restricted by the manufacturing process, glass have to be flawless. This does of course apply to recycled glass just as well as to new glass. The greater the amount of cullet used in glass manufacturing, the higher the risk of impurities will be.

To highlight the importance of the newly developed 100% recycled glass matching perfumery standards Saint Gobain launched Gaia, the first 100% environmentally friendly range of bottles and jars for the world of perfumes and cosmetics.

The designers at Extrême Paris, a design agency specialised in luxury and beauty products, were asked to base the designs on the idea of a continuous cycle, where nothing gets lost and everything is infinite. They have managed to convey the values of the project by creating a highly distinctive form. The design plays with material movements, the fluidity of waves and the balance of elements. The first curves of an eco-designed receptacle were born, inspired by creations from the goddess of nature.

In a press release Saint Gobain concludes: “Almost 18 months of research and development went into creating the Infinite Glass and its first incarnation: Gaïa. It constitutes a genuine call to beauty specialists to promote environmental responsibility,”

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