Gawler glass plant goes green with SA Gov’s energy efficiency scheme

Gawler glass manufacturer Orora partners with Origin to deliver major environmental gains under the SA government’s energy-efficiency scheme.

Photo sourced from Orora website

Gawler’s glass bottle manufacturing plant, Orora, and Origin Energy have joined forces to deliver significant environmental wins under the South Australian Government’s Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme (REPS).

Orora and Origin Energy will embark on two new projects to curtail greenhouse gas emissions and significantly improve recycling processes, saving thousands of tonnes of glass that would otherwise end up in landfill.

The REPS, administered by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA), was launched in 2021, replacing the older Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme. It aims to improve energy productivity across various sectors, focusing especially on low-income households.

Origin Energy and other energy retailers must deliver their set REPS scheme targets by funding incentives for households and businesses to invest in energy efficiency.

The combined expected outcome of the REPS projects at the Orora plant includes a ten-year energy saving worth $18 million, calculated based on the current energy prices, making significant strides towards sustainable manufacturing practices.

In 2022, Orora opened the $25 million beneficiation plant at its Gawler site to process recycled glass for furnace use. This processing involves crushing, cleaning and sorting the glass into a product known as ‘cullet’. This material, which is required for glass bottle production, has a lower melting point than traditional raw materials, reducing energy consumption considerably.

The REPS initiative enables the development of supply lines so Orora can receive glass from existing container schemes in regional NSW, Queensland, and the ACT in its first stages before shifting its focus toward the new schemes in Victoria and Tasmania. Orora then plans to expand to other glass recycling projects.

The second REPS initiative involves upgrading one of the three furnaces at Orora’s Gawler plant to use oxygen-fuel technology. This transformation is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent, elevating the furnace into the top 10 per cent of energy-efficient furnaces worldwide.

Minister for Energy and Mining, Tom Koutsantonis MP spoke of the two REPS projects as “… practical steps on the road to decarbonising the South Australian economy”. Adding that “It is only fitting that these drinks should be packaged in bottles made right here to the highest standards and that we grow interstate and international trade opportunities for our manufacturers.”

General Manager of Orora Beverage Glass Australasia, Greg Savage, stated that:
“We’re incredibly proud to be the first large-scale manufacturer in South Australia to initiate projects under the REPS.”

James Magill, Origin’s Executive General Manager – Origin Zero, added that:
“As the first large-scale facility initiative covered under the scheme, this approval will be instrumental in helping to bring these projects to life and will help Orora to reduce carbon emissions, improve energy efficiency and more broadly contribute to their overall sustainability targets.”

These projects are crucial not only for enhancing energy productivity but also for meeting the stricter federal regulations that were put in place in 2020, which limit the export of waste glass. As a result, it has become imperative to develop domestic capacities for recycling glass effectively.

The two Orora projects will reduce energy use by some 1.8 million gigajoules (the universal energy measurement), a huge win for all involved!

About Orora:
Orora is a leading global manufacturer and distributor of sustainable and innovative packaging and visual solutions. Listed on the ASX, Orora has over 8,500 employees spread across 29 manufacturing plants and 92 distribution sites globally. Nearly 400 South Australians are employed by Orora, whose Australian Headquarters are based in Melbourne. Its Gawler facility can manufacture up to one billion bottles a year.

About Origin Energy’s “Origin Zero”:
Origin Energy (ASX: ORG) is a leading Australian integrated energy company. Origin’s “Origin Zero” is a specialised team that collaborates with large businesses like Orora to help them accelerate their journey towards achieving zero emissions.

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