The production of glass packaging starts with the melting of its raw materials, mainly sand, soda ash, limestone and recycled glass (cullet). In this production process, the CO2 emissions result mainly from the combustion of Natural Gas needed to melt the raw materials and from soda ash melting.
The production of glass is extremely high in energy consumption, mainly in natural gas, and BA has set a clear goal to continuously reduce its consumption. BA has made several investments in its facilities, installing the best available technologies and implementing and improving monitoring systems, making them progressively more effective and efficient. With the recent furnace rebuilds, the Group has accomplished reductions of over 15% in the furnaces’ operating consumption. Over the last few years, BA Group’s Natural Gas consumption efficiency has increased by more than 7.5%, not considering the most recent acquisitions in 2017, saving over 370,000 Mwh in the last 5 years, equivalent to the annual consumption of a small city with 80,000 inhabitants.
The use of recycled glass (cullet) in glass production has a strong environmental impact, as besides enabling a reduction in landfill waste and in natural resource extraction, the use of cullet reduces the energy consumption of the furnaces (cullet melts at a lower temperature than the raw materials) and CO2 emissions, due to both lower natural gas consumption and lower use of soda ash as a raw material. It is a permanent goal for the company to increase cullet consumption and this is reflected in the increase in the volume of recycled glass in its furnaces.
To guarantee the quality of the recycled glass used as a raw material, the Group has made significant investments in the best technologies for its cullet treatment facilities, to clean used glass and transform it into an extremely high-quality raw material. Each year more than 340,000 tons of waste are prevented from going to landfill. The possibility to separate flint glass from coloured glass allows the use of recycled material in the production of flint bottles, something which was impossible a few years ago.
As a result of the continuous improvement in its natural gas consumption efficiency and the consistent use of cullet in the melting process, BA has been able to make continuous reductions in the CO2 emissions resulting from its production process, saving over 85,000 tons of CO2 emissions in the last 5 years, the equivalent to the annual emissions of over 20,000 cars.