25 July 2023Wales
Our Glass Expansion Plans are Taking Shape in Wales
Our ambitious expansion plans to provide recycled glass bottles across Europe are beginning to advance at speed.
It is several months since our planning application was approved to build a glass container manufacturing facility, which uses recycled glass, at the Rassau Industrial Estate, north of Ebbw Vale.
This project promises to be one of the largest investments in South Wales for decades, and one of the top 25 UK investments for the next year, bringing thousands of direct and indirect jobs to the local area. It is part of our long-term ambition to create a world-class facility to provide local glass bottles to residents in Wales, over the whole of the UK, and across Europe.
Over the last few months, we have been working to implement the Section 106 agreement conditions laid out by the local council, paving the way for us to prepare the site for this major development. Furthermore, we have also spent the last few months refining and simplifying the design of our facility. This has included a re-evaluation to make the plant more environmentally and operationally efficient whilst also reducing the cost of the overall build. We anticipate that work on-site, starting with the implementation of ecological mitigation measures, will begin shortly.
These changes will not affect the number of jobs we are looking to create at the glass plant and we remain committed to offering 500 highly skilled jobs at the facility and supporting hundreds of indirect jobs. We are committed to ensuring the facility benefits those within and close to the community. Next year, we will continue to engage with local schools and training centres, delivering brochures to help inform local people, young school graduates, and those looking for a new career, of some of the job and training opportunities we hope to bring to the area to help foster skills and expertise in Blaenau Gwent, as we become a long-term employer in the area.
Work is already taking place with local colleges, universities and training providers so that we will be able to provide education and training opportunities in the area over the next year. We are looking to create a 360° classroom in Ebbw Vale, showing people what it is like to work in our existing factory in Turkey. This will help give groups of people who have expressed an interest in working for Ciner Glass the opportunity to experience what it would be like to work in the facility. We have also held extensive discussions with local and regional companies to help provide us with plant essentials from across the supply chain process. This includes discussions with raw material providers, packaging and logistics companies, as well as site and equipment maintenance businesses. Most recently, we invited key stakeholders from the Ebbw Vale community for a trip to our site in Turkey to help showcase how our site in Ebbw Vale will operate.
We are also progressing well with the production of our plant in Lommel, Belgium. The construction of this state-of-the-art facility – which will create a similar number of jobs as the facility in South Wales – will begin in the second half of 2023. It is anticipated that we will start supplying glass bottles from the Lommel-based facility to beverage producers across Europe in 2025.
At our Lommel site, we are also investing in some of the industry-leading glass production equipment. The facility will be equipped with two unique, innovative end-fired melting furnaces that are significantly less energy intensive and therefore emit less CO2. Additional investment in residual heat boilers to help recover energy for heating, as well as the use of renewable solar and wind energy on-site, will further reduce the plant’s carbon footprint.
Another ambition is to reduce the weight of its glass bottles by 10 per cent – from 200g to 180g for a standard bottle – while maintaining the same strength and other properties required for the demanding food and beverage industry. These lighter bottles will not only reduce Ciner Glass’ emissions, but our customers’ carbon footprint, helping save more than 40,000 tons of glass per year.
In Turkey, we are also heavily investing in new technologies for the future. This includes work to implement green hydrogen investment into the glass production facility process. We are currently looking to generate three megawatts of hydrogen energy this year, enough to power ten hydrogen trucks at the Park Cam site, which will only continue to increase at scale and be implemented across our European sites.
We are proud of our progress to date and remain determined to ensure we help turn our vision for world-leading glass plants in Wales.