Greiner Packaging UK & Ireland celebrated its 50th anniversary at Dungannon, Northern Ireland, in the presence of the Greiner Family Council from Austria, representatives of regional and local government, and investors.
At the event, the company announced new investments totalling over £10M, for the installation of new bespoke machinery, commissioning of a new manufacturing hall, and the expansion of the warehouse from 3,000 to 11,000 spaces.
“For fifty years, we have produced some of the world’s most sustainable packaging for food and non-food applications at our factory in Dungannon,” says Director Operations at Greiner Packaging International, Jarek Zasadzinski.
“As we celebrate this important anniversary, we are proud to announce these new investments which follow the more than £35M we have invested since acquiring Wilsanco in 2006. Sixteen years ago, the site was turning over £15M and today we are achieving £60M. Our goal is to grow this site to £100M over the next 3-4 years.”
“These investments, by Greiner Packaging International, were partly funded by Invest NI, UK government, and EU regional development funds, and have contributed to building a highly successful and sustainable manufacturing business which services hundreds of customers across the UK and Ireland.”
“We are so proud of our achievements, of our loyal and committed workforce, and to be celebrating 50 sustainable years in Dungannon in 2022.”
To mark the 50 years, five trees were planted, one for each decade.
Investing in sustainability and aiming for carbon neutrality
“There are many sustainable highlights in our 50-year history,” says Greiner Packaging UK & Ireland Sales Director Julie Eller. “After we acquired Wilscanco in 2006, we invested over £2.5M in building Northern Ireland’s first high-bay warehouse, made from sustainable materials.”
“Three years later, through the introduction of energy consumption reducing wind power, Project SCool delivered the factory’s water-cooling needs. This was immediately followed by the need to remove excess heat from the cooling system, and Project SCool still delivers the heating requirements for the Integrated College across the road from the factory. It has not only made a significant contribution to CO2 reduction, but the energy savings made have resulted in the school being able to fund an additional four teachers.”
“The project was supported by Invest NI and UK government and preparations are now underway for Project SCool 2.0, which will see the existing school being expanded to three times its current size, with Greiner Packaging providing 100% of the heating requirements.”
“In 2019, we began the transition to meeting energy requirements solely from renewable sources, and by 2021 we reached that milestone. Plans are in place to become carbon neutral by 2030, in line with the Greiner AG Blue Plan for the entire Greiner Group.”
Investing in a sustainable future
“Since we acquired Wilsanco in 2006, we have invested close to £36M developing the site and installing a wide range of new manufacturing machinery,” says Jarek Zasadzinski.
“The K3® cardboard-plastic innovation was introduced in the following year, and since then there has been continuous investment at our UK manufacturing facility. But, alongside investing to create new packaging solutions, there has been a constant focus on investing in improving our environmental sustainability performance and pursuing our goal to achieve a circular economy.”
The first PET thermoforming machines were installed in 2009 and in-mold labelling (IML) followed in 2010. Kavoblow capability was added in 2015, followed by an upgrade of the forming hall and the introduction of the latest thermoforming technology in 2016. Further K3® and IML capacity followed in 2017 and in 2018 there was a major focus on quality, safety and efficiency. From 2019 to 2021, there was considerable growth with the installation of two more inline thermoforming machines, and another IML machine.
“Last year, we invested over £3.7m in our new PET decontamination and extrusion line,” says Jarek Zasadzinski. “We are proud to announce that the European Food Safety Authority has now approved the process we use to recycle post‐consumer PET into food contact materials, representing another significant and hugely important step in our journey to use increasing amounts of recycled material in our food grade packaging.”
“For the last sixteen years, we have steadily added a wide range of new sustainable packaging solutions, and are particularly proud of our category leading recyclable K3® cardboard-plastic combination packaging solution which has been hugely successful in the dairy and ready-meals sectors. Our new K3® r100 self-separates before reaching recycling facilities and is our most sustainable packaging solution to date.”
Delivering tomorrow’s packaging solutions
“As a business, Greiner Packaging needs to take a collective industry position and wherever possible, lead through example,” says Sustainability and Innovation Manager Rachel Sheldon. “We are already working closely with Plastic Pact and other industry bodies, and we recently joined RECOUP, the official RecyClass auditor for rigid plastic packaging in the UK. At an international level we are members of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, and in 2018, we signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment launched by the UK-based Ellen MacArthur Foundation.”
“Our 50th anniversary provides an ideal opportunity to remind our customers that we have been on a constant and well-planned journey to deliver the most sustainable packaging solutions. We will continue to provide our customers with the reassurance that they can avoid the dangers of greenwashing, by adopting packaging which measurably improves their carbon footprint and sustainability position.”
“Plastic has an important role to play, particularly for food packaging where it can help to extend shelf-life and therefore reduce food waste. People all over the UK and Ireland will soon see our ‘We love sustainable packaging’ message, as a fleet of newly liveried trailers heads out onto the nations’ roads from our factory in Dungannon.”