Gawler Plant Going Full Bottle For All-round Win

SA Gov

Significant environmental gains will be delivered at the Orora glass bottle manufacturing plant in Gawler, thanks to a State Government energy-efficiency scheme.

Thousands of tonnes of glass will be recycled rather than wasted and greenhouse gas emissions reduced under initiatives approved by the Malinauskas State Government.

Two new projects will be implemented in a partnership between Orora and Origin Energy – the first to be approved for large-scale facilities under the Government’s Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme (REPS). Energy savings of approximately $18 million over 10 years are expected to be achieved – calculated on the average cost for driving initiatives under REPS.

Lower overall energy use in the state puts downward pressure on demand – and therefore average costs – in a win for all consumers.

The scheme primarily assists low-income households to make improvements such as investing in energy-efficient appliances, or businesses to upgrade premises with better lighting or insulation – however, expanding eligibility to larger businesses will facilitate bigger overall energy savings and environmental benefits.

Orora employs nearly 400 people in South Australia, with its Gawler facility having capacity to manufacture up to one billion bottles a year.

The plant, the largest in Australia and one of the top ten globally, makes a range of wine, spirit, and beer bottles by using raw materials and recycled glass in its furnaces.

Orora already takes in about 80 per cent of the glass collected for recycling in South Australia through the container deposit scheme and almost all of the glass collected in Western Australia.

The Malinauskas Government welcomes other states now establishing their own container deposit schemes, creating the opportunity for Orora to gather more recycling glass.

Federal legislation has restricted the export of waste glass since 2020, making it more imperative to find ways to recycle glass within Australia.

To process more recycled glass for furnace use, Orora built a $25 million beneficiation plant, which opened at Gawler in 2022. The plant crushes, cleans and sorts the glass into what is known as “cullet”.

The cullet has a lower melting point than the raw materials of silica, limestone and soda ash which are traditionally used in glassmaking.

Using cullet reduces energy use as well as delivering the environmental benefit of diverting glass from landfill.

Orora is on track to increase the proportion of cullet from 38 per cent to more than 60 per cent, in line with its sustainability goals – provided it can source more glass from recycling schemes.

Under the REPS initiative, Orora will develop supply lines to receive glass from existing container schemes in regional NSW, Queensland and the ACT. It will then target the new schemes in Victoria and Tasmania followed by expansion to other glass recycling projects.

In a second REPS initiative, Orora is upgrading one of its three furnaces to a more efficient, oxygen-fuelled technology. This is anticipated to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide by 20 per cent, moving the furnace into the top 10 per cent of energy efficient furnaces in the world.

The REPS scheme sets efficiency targets in gigajoules, the universal measurement of energy.

Retailers such as Origin must meet their targets by funding incentives for households and businesses to invest in energy efficiency.

Under the two Orora projects, energy use will be reduced by some 1.8 million gigajoules.

The estimated value of the energy savings is $16 million to $18 million for the two projects over 10 years, calculated on the average cost for driving initiatives under REPS (while not accounting for other factors including fluctuating energy prices and supplier contractual arrangements).

As put by Tom Koutsantonis

These projects are practical steps on the road to decarbonising the South Australian economy.

Reducing energy consumption and lowering emissions while improving productivity is an all-round winner.

Being more environmentally friendly will be a competitive advantage for this South Australian manufacturing plant.

This state is a national leader in producing high quality wine, beer, and other beverages.

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.

As put by Greg Savage, General Manager Orora Beverage Glass, Australasia

We’re incredibly proud to be the first large-scale manufacturer in South Australia to initiate projects under the REPS.

This will enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions at our facilities, in turn helping us achieve our sustainability goals, and benefiting the wider community.

Our commitment to sustainability is clearly demonstrated through initiatives such as increasing the recycled content in the glass bottles we manufacture, as well as being at the forefront of new technologies such as our oxygen-fuelled furnace.

We’re proud to have worked with our long-term partner Origin to deliver the largest-ever projects through the REPS, and we value the South Australian Government’s support.

As put by James Magill, Origin’s Executive General Manager – Origin Zero

We are pleased to be able to assist our valued, long-standing customer Orora with their submission to have these two significant projects in Gawler supported under the SA Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme.

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.

This project is an outstanding example of what is possible when the energy industry works in collaboration with industry and with government to find innovative energy efficiency solutions.

About the Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme (REPS)

The REPS is a South Australian Government energy productivity scheme that provides incentives for South Australian households and businesses to save energy.

It was established in 2021, replacing the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme which had operated since 2009.

The objective is to improve energy productivity for households, businesses, and the broader energy system, with a focus on low-income households.

The scheme reduces energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) administers the REPS and the activities which obliged retailers can deliver to meet annual energy productivity targets. The Minister for Energy and Mining sets the targets annually. As administrator, ESCOSA allocates targets to each obliged retailer and ensures compliance with the targets.

The scheme is measured in gigajoules, the universal measurement of energy. One gigajoule is the equivalent of 278 kilowatt-hours of electrical energy.

More than 30 activities – such as households installing energy-efficient appliances or insulation – qualify as ways retailers meet their obligations.

Retailers support the activities through discounts on services, cash rebates, vouchers or similar incentives.

All retailers who have more than 5000 electricity or gas customers are obliged to meet energy productivity targets.

An activity to improve efficiency at large facilities was introduced in 2021.

Of these, 10,909 of the 17,246 activities were provided to priority group households.

About Orora

Orora is a leading manufacturer and distributor of sustainable, innovative packaging and visual solutions for customers across the world. Listed on the ASX and headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, every day, millions of consumers buy and use goods in packaging proudly designed, developed, manufactured or distributed by Orora.

More than 8,500 people are employed across 29 manufacturing plants and 92 distribution sites across Australasia, North America, Europe and the UAE. Orora’s Gawler facility features a large rooftop solar array, and the plant has long-term power purchase agreements in place with renewable energy generators. Learn more at www.ororagroup.com.

About Origin

Origin Energy (ASX: ORG) is a leading Australian integrated energy company. Origin has more than 4.5 million retail customer accounts and approximately 7,000 MW of power generation capacity.

Origin’s ambition is to lead the energy transition through cleaner energy and customer solutions. Origin Zero is the team within Origin that works with large businesses like Orora, to help them accelerate towards zero.

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