ARDAGH: Reducing environmental impact; remaining socially responsible and economically sustainable

With 56 metal and glass production facilities in 12 countries, employing 16,000+ people and global sales of approximately USD 7 billion, Ardagh Group has a truly global presence. In this article, we take a look at how the Group is continuing to pursue market-leading innovation, quality and customer service, while continuing to supply value-added, infinitely recyclable, metal and glass packaging solutions for the world’s leading brands – with sustainability always in the forefront.

With more than 100 years of glass container manufacturing experience, Ardagh has 13 manufacturing facilities strategically located throughout the US, offering technology, expertise, innovation, a vast geographical spread and full end-to-end supply chain service.
Ardagh containers range in size from 1 oz. to 135 oz., with 16 colours available, including traditional choices of flint, amber and green, as well as more contemporary blue and purple options.
Moreover, glass bottles and jars can be designed to have creative shapes, as well as textures and embossing features that provide strong brand identity.

Ardagh Group customers have received more than 80 Clear Choice Awards from the Glass Packaging Institute for packaging their products in innovative glass containers manufactured by the Group. From innovations in complex bottle shapes, to embossing and debossing techniques, to breakthroughs in closure finishes, Ardagh is constantly pioneering new ways to get customers’ products beyond the shelf and into the consumers’ hands.

Ardagh’s Vision4Glass℠ process brings knowledge of advanced glassmaking techniques and aesthetic sensibility to every project. The Group’s Product Design team’s portability allows to work with customers anywhere, and after a design is completed, photo realistic renderings and a selection of prototype models are offered to bring the package to life. Ardagh Group’s Vision4Glass enhances the collaboration process and provides true speed to market for customers’ products.

ECO Series®
Ardagh Group was the first company in the US to offer bottles and jars that combine product aesthetics with a reduced environmental impact, known as ECO Series®. This innovative series provides all the eco-friendly advantages of glass – a neutral and inert material that is infinitely recyclable, while maintaining high quality, enhancing customer appeal, and lessening the overall impact on the environment.
In production, the ECO Series® range meets the same standards of technical and aesthetic quality as traditional containers, while resulting in immediate gains for the customers’ transportation optimisation and illustrating a commitment to sustainability.

The worldwide demand for resource and energy sustainability has led to the successful development of glass lightweighting. Over the past 15 years the weight of a typical glass container has gone down by some 40 per cent, and Ardagh has been at the forefront of this lightweighting technology. Using cutting edge design software and manufacturing precision to distribute weight more evenly around the container’s surface, the Group has developed lightweight bottles cross various market sectors.
Ardagh is, in fact, responsible for producing the world’s lightest beer bottle – 155g for a 330ml container, as well as the development of the first 70cl spirit bottle and 750ml wine bottles below 300g. This desire to set industry leading standards has led Ardagh to take one of the most iconic beverage bottles in the world from a 2005 weight of 240g to a current weight of 190g, while retaining all the bottle’s trademark dimensions, quality and strength, while improving its environmental performance.

Ardagh’s sustainability agenda is founded on three pillars – Environmental, Economic and Social and ethical. With regards to the environmental pillar, Ardagh is striving to achieve positive change and implement supportive initiatives that reward on all levels, identifying, controlling and measuring activities to reduce their environmental impact. The Group also invests in its production facilities to ensure energy efficiency and a reduction in emissions. Optimising the use of secondary packaging materials and manage waste appropriately, by limiting the use of landfill and water usage, is also high on the agenda.

Ambitious targets
Ardagh has set ambitious 2025 targets as part of its sustainability strategy, such as local projects and operational excellence programmes are key activities in order to achieve our targets. Progress is monitored at a business unit level using Ardagh’s internal sustainability indicator: “GoGreen Index”.
Ardagh is now in the process of developing this vision.

Ardagh Wahlstedt installs heat recycling system
At the core of production activities at Ardagh is a commitment to responsible environmental management. Ardagh has installed, with sustainable best practice in mind, a new batch preheater, or heat recovery system, at its glass production facility in Wahlstedt, Germany. As a result of this new technology, energy consumption at Wahlstedt has reduced by up to 20 per cent.
The new preheater allows for waste heat from the melting process to recirculate and preheat a mix of raw materials and cullet to approximately 280°C which is then fed into the furnace for melting. An E-filter cleanses emissions as they pass through.
“Ardagh continues to focus on sustainability and energy efficiency and this technology allows our facilities to achieve real energy reductions as well as cutting carbon emissions by up to 4,000 tonnes per annum,” said John Sadlier, Ardagh’s Chief Sustainability Officer.
Today, Ardagh operates seven batch preheaters across its glass production facilities in Germany and The Netherlands.

Ardagh Group S.A.