Local and government leaders, including North Northamptonshire MP, Philip Hollobone, have formally launched construction works at Ball Corporation’s new can-making factory at the SEGRO Park Kettering Gateway. With accelerating demand for infinitely recyclable aluminium drinks cans growing fast in the UK and around the world, Ball is investing in the new cutting-edge facility to meet the needs of its customers.
This new facility will be the largest ever beverage packaging plant in the UK. Set for completion in January 2023, the site will occupy 56,000 sqm, with space to expand production later. In its first year, the plant will be producing over one billion fully recyclable cans and generate 200 local jobs.
The multinational can-maker is working with key public services including Job Centre Plus to together level-up employment in the area. A pre-employment programme will develop talent from all local communities for exciting roles at the new plant during 2022 and beyond.
“As environmental awareness increases, consumers are insisting on more sustainable drinks packaging. This new facility, in one of the UK’s best-known manufacturing locations, will help us to support our customers’ growth, creating fully recyclable cans which can play a role in a truly circular economy and support the local community,” said Carey Causey, President, Ball Beverage Packaging Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia (EMEA).
A celebration to mark the construction of the plant was attended by the local MP, local councillors, and community groups.
The growth in demand for aluminium cans comes as consumers seek alternatives to single-use plastic, with a recent poll showing almost 80 per cent of people are taking steps to reduce single-use plastic and two-thirds want to do more. Aluminium cans are currently the world’s most widely recycled beverage packaging, with a UK recycling rate of 82 per cent and a European average of 76 per cent.
Ball, which has had its climate change plan approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative, is constructing the Kettering plant according to BREEAM ‘Excellent’ Sustainability and Environmental Standards. Other features include a rainwater harvesting system and innovative technology to mitigate machinery exhaust emissions.
These innovative technologies will make the Kettering plant the most advanced facility of its type, demanding 20 per cent less energy and 70 per cent less water than traditional can-making processes.
The manufacturing industry has long been a major source of employment for Kettering and the surrounding area, with the Ball facility joining a contemporary local industrial community which includes Mercedes-AMG, Siemens and Weetabix.
The Kettering facility will be Ball’s third can-making site in the UK, joining established plants in Milton Keynes and Wakefield and taking the new total in the EMEA region to 26.