Glass is a sustainable packaging material, as it is manufactured from natural raw materials and is optimally recyclable. However, there is great potential for improvement when it comes to organising the industry as a whole to be more sustainable in the long term. Vetropack aspires to shape this transformation and develop into a glass producer that is known throughout the industry for its environmentally friendly practices and products. Under the heading “Clearly sustainable”, this has been set out as an important objective of the new Strategy 2030.
The company has established relevant key figures and short-, medium- and long-term targets to make progress measurable and compare itself with its competitors. The main key indicator for checking this is CO2 emissions per tonne of glass produced. The company is aiming to cut CO2 emissions by 30% from 2019 to 2030.
Customers’ and consumers’ interest in the environmental footprint and traceability of glass packaging is growing steadily. That is why Vetropack began developing a method to make it easier to trace glass containers in its new innovation centre in 2020. With the aid of a QR code on the containers, Vetropack will, in future, be able to see how often a bottle has been reused, for example.
The glass industry, which can make a major contribution to climate protection because of its substantial energy consumption, is also subject to increasing regulatory pressure. Vetropack therefore endeavours to reduce its environmental footprint every year. To live up to this aspiration, the company works continually at making the production steps more energy efficient, and therefore more CO2 efficient, and increasing the proportion of used glass. Vetropack also participates in various research projects investigating new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in glass production, for example as part of the “International Partners in Glass Research” (IPGR).
Environmental key indicators
Total energy consumption in GWh
Natural gas 1)
Specific energy consumption in MWh/t 2)
Greenhouse gas emissions in tCO2e 3)
Scope 1 (heat & process emissions) 4)
Scope 2 (electricity)
Specific greenhouse gas emissions in tCO2e/t 2)
Material consumption: recycled glass
Used glass green
Used glass brown
Used glass white
Water in m 3
Total water withdrawal
1 347 987
1 402 519
Municipal water supply
1 001 577
Total water discharge
1 267 950
1 268 790
Waste disposal in tons
Recycling (sporadic) 5)
Incineration or landfill (ongoing)
Incineration or landfill (sporadic) 5)
1) Incl. 3.8 GWh heating oil in 2020 (4.5 GWh in 2019)
2) Per tonnage of glass produced that satisfies all quality and safety requirements thus qualifying for sale.
3) Greenhouse gas inventory calculated in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
4) Process emissions result from chemical reactions throughout the glass manufacturing process.
5) Waste not generated every year from ongoing operations (e.g. furnace repairs)
Data basis: All Vetropack production sites. Energy consumption from diesel generators and other combustible or motor fuels is not included as it is irrelevant when compared to the overall energy consumption.
Total energy consumption (GWh)
Greenhouse gas emissions by source (t CO2e)
Mixing ratio raw materials and used glass
Energy efficiency and renewables
Glass production is associated with substantial expenditure of energy, which is caused above all in the operation of furnaces. The greatest leverage in the reduction of specific energy consumption therefore comes from the repair or construction of a new furnace. With each refurbishment, Vetropack tries to achieve an increase in energy efficiency of around 10 to 15% and a longer service life. This ensures that Vetropack’s investment projects always involve state-of-the-art technology. Efficiency improvement measures like these are not only of benefit to the environment but also to Vetropack’s bottom line.
In 2020, the company renovated a furnace in Straža (Croatia). The specific energy consumption was successfully cut by 14% thanks to this measure. It also resulted in a corresponding reduction of CO2 emissions.
In the next three years, Vetropack plans to introduce an energy management system developed especially for the company in all plants. This system is to optimise the control of energy consumption and make it easier to identify potential improvements. The process was continued in 2020. The system has already been tested in a three-year pilot phase in Croatia.
In 2020, Vetropack set itself the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions per tonne of glass produced by 30% compared with the base year 2019 by 2030. Vetropack not only wants to increase energy efficiency, but also to invest in renewables. Back in 2019, the company put a photovoltaic system into operation at the Croatian glassworks in Straža, which produces approximately 1,000 MWh of electricity each year. Important experience has now been gained at the plant for the potential operation of further systems.
Climate-neutral logistics by 2030
Vetropack also has ambitious goals for logistics and mobility – the company wants to make its logistics climate neutral by 2030. In the year under review, the company analysed the CO2 emissions of all shipments in the last three years. Based on this analysis, Vetropack developed measures such as switching vehicles and the forklift fleet to renewable drive systems. It is also investing in optimising the supply chain.
In its own operations, Vetropack plans to switch all forklifts throughout the Group to natural gas or electric drive systems by 2024. Substantial investments are required to achieve this, especially as the necessary infrastructure, such as for charging, must be provided. In addition, only electric or hybrid vehicles will be considered when procuring new company vehicles from the reporting year.
Optimising use of raw materials
A high proportion of recycled glass is vital for environmentally friendly glass production. At Vetropack, the proportion of used glass accounts for up to 80% of processed raw materials in some plants. Across the Group, the proportion of used glass was 53% in 2020. Vetropack has set itself the target of achieving a used glass proportion of 70% by 2030. However, the availability of high-quality used glass remains a major challenge. In many countries, collection rates are far lower than in Switzerland and Austria, for example. The quality of used glass can also lead to problems if it is contaminated with foreign substances, such as ceramics. Vetropack therefore supports measures that increase collection rates.
Although the political will to improve the collection of used glass is not equally strong everywhere, Vetropack is optimistic with regard to the future. The collection rates prescribed by the European Union for glass will increase further, meaning that more used glass will find its way into the recycling process and be available for use.
Share of used glass in the glass production
Although the political will to improve the collection of used glass is not to be found everywhere, Vetropack is optimistic with regard to the future. The collection rates prescribed by the European Union for glass will increase further, meaning that more used glass will find its way into the recycling process. This will ensure that more used glass is available.
Used glass ratio for glass production 2020
(by Group Company)
Used glass ratio for glass production 2020