The company has replaced its former amber furnace with one which has a melting area which is more than 6m² larger and can produce around 200 tonnes of glass per day. It was developed in response to growing demand for amber glass from the craft beer market, both in the UK and overseas.
Approximately 40% of the company’s amber glass is produced from recycled glass – otherwise known as cullet – including material collected under Beatson Clark’s contract to manage recycling collections in Rotherham, which was renewed earlier this year.
Glass furnaces need to be completely rebuilt every ten years and the new furnace is part of a £10 million investment by Beatson Clark in plant and equipment at its South Yorkshire site this year.
“We are selling a lot of amber glass at the moment and our new larger capacity furnace will help us to supply the small brewery market even more effectively,” said marketing manager Charlotte Taylor. “We’ve installed stirrers in the forehearths to improve the quality of the glass, and by widening them we can also get a greater pull from the furnace.”
Ms Taylor added that the design of the furnace had also been improved to reduce nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide emissions.
A new six-section bottle forming machine has also been installed which will offer further flexibility to supply the smaller breweries.
“Our staff have worked tremendously hard with all of the contractors involved in the rebuild to ensure a smooth installation,” said Beatson Clark’s furnace manager, Dean Duke. “The new furnace and the major maintenance work that has been undertaken will enable us to continue to produce quality amber glass for our customers for years to come.”
Beatson Clark produces glass packaging for a number of niche markets including the pharmaceutical industry and food and drink sector and its glass is used to make products for household brands including Bell’s Buttercup, Lyle’s Golden Syrup and Lemsip.
While the company said it no longer receives packaging recovery note (PRN) income directly, as this is received by the processors, it acknowledged the role that PRNs play in growing the market for recycled glass cullet, which in turn has helped to increase the recycled content of the containers it produces.
The PRN system requires packaging producers to pay towards the costs of recycling packaging by buying PRNs from accredited reprocessors and exporters.
However, the company said it wished that all PRN income for glass was channelled entirely into re-melt to incentivise the activity, as opposed to the recycling of glass into aggregates. Ms Taylor said that if this happened: “there would be more available quality cullet in the UK, thereby increasing the recycled content of our containers – reducing the amount of raw materials we use and helping to reduce emissions, as the cullet melts at a lower temperature.”
Beatson Clark operates a recycling plant on Greasborough Road, which employs nine people, receives 6,240 tonnes of metal, textiles and glass from Rotherham every year, of which 4,734 tonnes are glass.
The glass is recycled and used to make new bottles and jars at the Rotherham factory, while the textiles are sent to Bag It Up who support the Great Yorkshire Air Ambulance charity and metals are recycled at Morris & Co and Alutrade.