For the first time ever, European container glass manufacturers come together to build the first large scale hybrid electric furnace to run on 80 % green electricity.
The ‘Furnace of the Future’ is a fundamental milestone in the industry’s decarbonisation journey towards climate-neutral glass packaging. It will be the first large-scale hybrid oxy-fuel furnace to run on 80 % renewable electricity in the world. It will replace current fossil-fuel energy sources and cut CO2 emissions by 50 %.
For the very first time, the industry has adopted a collaborative approach where 20 glass container producers have mobilised resources to work on and fund a pilot project to prove the concept.
We are extremely proud to announce this joint-industry project”, comments Michel Giannuzzi, President of FEVE. “The hybrid technology is a step-change in the way we produce and will enable us to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of glass packaging production. The move marks an important milestone for the glass sector in implementing our decarbonisation strategy”.
Ardagh Group – the second largest glass packaging manufacturer in the world – has volunteered to build the furnace in Germany. It will be built in 2022, with an assessment of first results planned for 2023. The industry already works with electric furnaces in several of its 150 glass manufacturing plants across Europe, but they are small scale and exclusively used to produce flint (colourless) glass with virgin raw materials, therefore using very little or no recycled glass content. With this new technology, the industry will be able to produce more than 300 tonnes per day of any glass colour, using high levels of recycled glass.
“With this new technology we are embarking on the journey to climate-neutral glass packaging, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of manufacturing”, states Martin Petersson, CEO of Ardagh Group, Glass Europe. “We aim to demonstrate the viability of electric melting on a commercial scale, which would revolutionise the consumer glass packaging market”.
Bringing the ‘Furnace of the Future’ to life is an extremely ambitious project requiring significant financial and human resources and a wide range of expertise. For this reason, the industry has committed to work together. By adopting a sectoral approach, it also intends to gain the support of the European Commission through the ETS Finance for Innovation Fund Programme. Despite its key importance, this project is not the only one the industry is working on. Other pathways towards clean production technologies and climate-neutral glass packaging are already implemented and others are also being explored.
FEVE – the European Container Glass Federation has elected its executive team for the 2019-2021 term of office at its Annual General Assembly held in Brussels.
Michel Giannuzzi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Verallia Group – one of Europe’s leading glass packaging manufacturers for the food and beverage sector, has been elected as President of the association, succeeding Johan Gorter, CEO of Ardagh Glass Europe. Commenting on his new role, Mr Giannuzzi said: “Our industry has a unique opportunity right now: as packaging is under scrutiny by consumers for its sustainability and healthy credentials. The glass industry is perfectly positioned to respond to customer and regulatory requirements leveraging the benefits of the Circular Economy”.
Today, some 80 billion bottles, jars and flacons are supplied annually to the global food and beverage industry as well as to fragrance, cosmetics and pharma markets. Glass packaging is easily and infinitely recyclable. In the last fifteen years, glass recycling has increased by 139 % throughout Europe. Some 1.5 million bottle banks are available across the region and an average of 74 % of Europe’s glass is collected for recycling, demonstrating the success of the dedicated glass recycling scheme introduced in Europe in the 1970s. These numbers also underline the commitment of the glass industry to attain aggressive recycling rates.
“Mr Giannuzzi added. “As we move towards a more sustainable future, we have a great opportunity to continue innovating glass production. We are determined to further reduce our industry’s environmental footprint, increase quantity and quality of recycled glass, and continue to design new packaging solutions that provide value to our customers and their brands”. He concluded: “In my role as President, building on the excellent job done by my colleague Johan Gorter, I want to convey enthusiasm and energy, and further promote sustainability goals, technology innovation, customer proximity and consumer engagement”.
The industry invests every year at least than €600 million in its 160 manufacturing plants and research facilities across Europe to modernize production, further reduce emissions, increase recycled content and reduce weight of the glass containers(1). Today, glass containers are on average 30 % lighter than 20 years ago, while maintaining and even improving their product qualities, recyclability, and innovative design.
In addition, Vitaliano Torno, President of O-I Europe, has been elected Vice-President of FEVE. He said: “Our customers thrive on glass as the most sustainable packaging solution. Led by the knowledge and ambition of our industry’s employees, we are innovating to help our customers build their precious and renowned brands and become valued partners as well as sustainable producers. I am determined to move the glass industry forward and promote the benefits of glass.”
The industry is also continuously increasing its communication efforts to inform and educate consumers, regulators and other stakeholders about the numerous benefits of glass packaging, and the fundamental role of packaging in protecting end-consumer products. The Friends of Glass platform on www.friendsofglass.com reaches out to millions of consumers around the Globe.
(1) See the E&Y report “Environmental, social and economic contribution of the Container Glass sector in Europe” – February 2015.
Latest industry data on glass recycling confirms that over 12 million tons of glass bottles and jars are collected and recycled in Europe, with an average glass recycling rate in the EU28 of 74 %(1). Glass remains the best performing food grade closed loop in the world. The latest industry data have a two-year time lag dating from 2016.
This figure should be set to rise. With the Circular Economy now at the forefront of the political agenda, EU Member States have committed to ambitious targets on municipal waste reduction and glass packaging recycling. This signals a renewed investment in separate collection for glass packaging in the coming years, which will engage consumers, municipalities, Extended Producer Responsibility schemes, recyclers and manufacturers in a collaborative effort to collect, sort and treat the glass that is currently leaking from the system.
“As an industry we commit to actually recycle all collected glass of sufficient quality in the closed loop. An estimated 90 % of what is collected goes into creating new bottles from old ones, offering brands and consumers a food grade quality recycled material. Today, recycled glass is our most important raw material, which brings us major environmental benefits, and energy savings”, commented Adeline Farrelly, FEVE Secretary General.
Our recent study on glass packaging recycling(2) demonstrates that countries such as Austria and Sweden have gone beyond 90 % collection for recycling rates by installing bottle bank systems and investing in consumer awareness. Tailored solutions will need to be found locally, but separating glass from the other materials is the best investment for public authorities to meet the new glass recycling targets. Our recent consumer research suggests that particularly for millennials, environmental credentials drive their product choice, and that the take-back culture for glass packaging is very strong where there is bottle bank infrastructure in place(3).
“Consumers have a strong connection with glass packaging, which is for them more than just a packaging”, she continued. “Over ten years ago, the industry decided to invest in consumer communications to raise awareness about the importance of glass recycling and the other key assets of glass packaging. We want to help bridge the collection gap, but clearly cannot do so on our own. Efforts across the value chain are needed.”
The average 74 % EU glass collection for recycling rate masks a variety of situations between countries. If we look at performance rates, on the one side, we find countries in the ‘Over 90 %’ top league: Belgium, Finland, Austria, Sweden and Slovenia where separate collection schemes for glass perform very well and provide a high quality secondary raw material for the industry. On the opposite side we find countries in the ’Under 40 %’ league: Greece, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Malta, Romania where the collection culture and, consequently the glass collection schemes have important potential for growth. Looking at overall volumes of glass collected, the picture in larger countries such as France, Italy, the UK, Poland or Spain is different. In conclusion, each country is different and will need its own focused and tailored strategy to ensure top class glass recycling. In conclusion, each country is different and will need its own focused and tailored strategy to ensure top class glass recycling.
(1) – See FEVE Recycling Statistics published on the FEVE website www.feve.org
(2) – See https://feve.org/study-on-impact-assessment-of-deposit-return-schemes
(3) – See http://content.presspage.com/uploads/1081/friendsofglass-reportonpackaging-2017.pdf?10000
Michel Giannuzzi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Verallia Group – one of Europe’s leading glass packaging manufacturers for the food and beverage sector – has been elected Vice-President of FEVE – the European Container Glass Federation – at its FEVE General Meeting in Rotterdam on June 15th.
“I am eager to put my experience at the service of this industry which has an unrivaled cultural heritage in Europe and a strong future ahead. Glass continues to be the packaging material of reference for many products despite competition.” says Michel Giannuzzi. “Our European industry association has a leadership role in federating forces towards circular economy”.
About Michel Giannuzzi
Starting from September 1, 2017, Michel Giannuzzi has been appointed as Chairman and Chief Executive officer (“CEO”) of the Verallia Group. Aged 53 years old, Michel Giannuzzi served as CEO of Tarkett, a worldwide leader of innovative flooring and sports surface solutions, from 2007 to 2017. During his tenure at Tarkett, Michel Giannuzzi pursued a profitable and sustainable growth strategy, which led to a successful IPO in 2013. Prior to that, Michel Giannuzzi held several leading positions within the Michelin Group and Valeo Group. He graduated from Ecole Polytechnique and Harvard Business School.
Strong production growth in 2016 represents a significant increase above the historic average growth rates for glass packaging
Glass packaging production in Europe grew by 2.9 % in volume (Tonnes) and by 2.1 % in unit terms in 2016 according to data published today by the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE)(1). The growth was driven by exports as well as continued demand for glass packaging in food and beverage segments in Europe. A total volume of 20.9 million tonnes or 75.9 billion units were produced in Europe for the EU and international food and beverage markets.
“The buoyant demand for glass is a strong signal of trust from customers in our industry and in glass packaging to help brands stand out on the shelves both in the European market and internationally,” says FEVE President Johan Gorter.
The strong performance in 2016 confirms the steady trend of the last 5 years. Since 2012, the industry has increased its production by 5.8 % in volume and 6.1 per cent in units.
Glass continues to be the reference packaging material for leading markets such as spirits, wines and beer, while it is increasingly gaining share in the food, water and dairy sectors. This is not only due to new consumption trends for local, organic and natural food, but also because of the positive image of glass packaging and the strong consumer trust in glass as their preferred packaging for environmental, health and taste preservation reasons. According to a recent survey(2), glass is consumers’ favourite packaging, with 1 in 2 Europeans saying they use more glass than three years ago and 75 % of Europeans view glass as the most environmentally friendly packaging.
“It is encouraging that consumers trust glass because of its sustainability credentials and because it best preserves the quality of their preferred products. As an industry, we are committed to making the inherent properties of glass more visible to our customers and to the final consumer” continues Johan Gorter.
(1)Production of container glass for food and beverages in the EU, Switzerland and Turkey based on direct industry production data from FEVE member companies compiled by Vivid Economics for FEVE.
(2)InSites Research 2016. View Summary report on the Friends of Glass platform.