Our Factory Sustainability: Glanbia Ingredients Ireland

We are committed to sustainability & good commercial practice, employing Manufacturing Execution System & Glanbia Performance System at all our plants.

Keeping our environment clean

As highly accredited innovators in the area of sustainability across our processing sites, our achievements include:

  • Improving our energy efficiency and carbon emissions by 50% over the past 10 years
  • Becoming the first dairy processing company to be awarded triple certification by the Carbon Trust, in recognition of best practice and real achievements in the reduction of carbon emissions, water usage and waste
  • Setting a target to further enhance energy efficiency and emissions by 10% per tonne by 2020, while simultaneously working to increase output by more than 830 million litres – a 56% rise in our overall production

Among our facilities is Ballyragget, one of Europe’s largest multipurpose, integrated dairy sites. With a primary source of natural gas, its combined heat and power (CHP) plant uses the heat produced in electricity generation rather than releasing it into the atmosphere.

The Ballyragget site is supported by the first Kubota membrane wastewater treatment facility to be installed by any food company worldwide. Also featuring Suprafilt fine bubble air diffusers, we extended this facility in 2007 to keep up with production, and it remains well ahead of European Commission Best Available Technique (BAT) standards. In fact, the water it discharges into the nearby River Nore is of drinking quality and cleaner than the river itself.

Zero waste, maximum recycling

One of the by-products that’s separated from milk washings during filtration is a solid dairy sludge fraction that’s rich in nutrients. This makes for a highly effective, natural fertiliser that we supply to farms in our network as part of our Nutrient Management Plan.

It’s an archetypal, symbiotic model of recycling that saves on importing phosphates – but our efforts in this area don’t stop there. Our work to minimise waste also includes:

  • 35–40% of our annual water usage being reused or recycled, with a target to further reduce fresh water requirements by 25% by 2020
  • Committing to our ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ initiative across all of our processing plants through employee engagement and awareness, and thorough processes

Ballyragget is ahead of target and has already achieved its zero to landfill goal, while our Virginia plant has realised an 85% reduction in waste to landfill as it heads towards its zero target this year.

And as GII continues to grow and develop its output and presence in international markets with the abolition of EU milk quotas, our commitment to sustainability in our plants will remain steadfast.

This includes implementing the very highest standards at our new, €185 million, state-of-the-art nutritional ingredients plant in Belview – continuing to reduce energy usage despite our business model moving increasingly towards more value-added products such as clinical, infant and sports nutrition powders.