Verallia North America, one of the leading glass container manufacturers for the food and beverage industries in the United States with 13 facilities, celebrated the Milford, Mass., glass packaging facility's receipt of the ENERGY STAR plant certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday. Milford is one of only three of the 46 U.S. container glass facilities to earn this designation. The other two recipients are also Verallia North America facilities – one in Madera, Calif., and one in Sapulpa, Okla.
Congressman Richard Neal and Stephen Perkins, Deputy Regional Administrator for Ecosystem Protection with the EPA joined the presentation, along with a number of other state and local elected officials, community leaders, union representatives and employees.
"Verallia North America is pleased to accept EPA's ENERGY STAR certification in recognition of our energy efficiency efforts in Milford," said Joseph R. Grewe, President and CEO of Verallia North America. "Through this achievement, we have demonstrated our commitment to environmental stewardship while also lowering our energy costs."
The Milford facility's furnaces use recycled glass (cullet) to replace virgin raw materials at one of the highest rates in the world – ranging from 80 to 90 percent depending on the availability of sufficient quantities of high-quality cullet recovered under the Massachusetts bottle bill, which has been in place for many years. This improves Milford's competitive position, while also being in line with Verallia's commitment to continuously improving its sustainability footprint.
"Using recycled glass in our manufacturing process saves energy, reduces emissions, including greenhouse gasses, and avoids the need to use new raw materials," said Grewe. "In order to help our other facilities achieve results similar to our Milford plant, we are working with our suppliers to capture and recycle more cullet, and with government officials to find ways to improve waste stream recovery in order to increase cullet availability – making glass bottles and jars a true win-win-win for our customers, for Verallia and for the planet."
From a similar perspective, in Massachusetts we are strong supporters of expanding the current bottle bill to cover non-carbonated beverages – a step that would dramatically increase the availability of recycled PET along with reducing highway and waterway litter," said Grewe.
Since its opening in 1973 with one glassmaking furnace, the Milford plant has been a vital part of the community's fabric. The business has evolved over time and, today, in the two-furnace facility, its 235 employees make approximately 2.5 million endlessly recyclable bottles each day for several well-known beer industry brands. After converting to an oxy-furnace in October 2010, the plant has been able improve its energy efficiency by more than 20 percent. The combination of major capital investments along with its impressive cullet-usage rate, has earned the Milford facility a place among the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA.
According to Jean Lupinacci, Chief of the ENERGY STAR Commercial & Industrial Branch, "Improving the energy efficiency of our nation's industrial facilities is critical to protecting our environment. "From the plant floor to the board room, organizations are leading the way by making their facilities more efficient and earning EPA's ENERGY STAR certification."
In conjunction with the presentation, EPA Representative Stephen Perkins and others toured the facility, which provided an opportunity to see how glass containers are made.