O-I Glass, a leading producer of glass bottles and jars, has announced the successful completion of two water reduction projects at its San Polo plant in northern Italy.

These initiatives align with O-I’s commitment to sustainable manufacturing practices, which includes a 25% water consumption reduction target by 2030.

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The projects address the growing challenge of water scarcity in the region due to climate change.

Traditionally, northern Italy has not faced water supply issues. However, recent droughts have highlighted the need for proactive water management.

Focus on closed-loop systems and worker efficiency

The San Polo plant’s water reduction strategy focuses on two key areas: optimising industrial processes and promoting responsible water use among employees.

One project involved creating a closed-loop water system for the kettles in kiln 1. Previously, this water was drained. Now, it is redirected to the filter cooling system of oven 1. This approach reduces the plant’s reliance on freshwater for glass production.

The second project involved installing modern, pedal-operated sinks in the plant’s hot zone. These sinks allow workers to control water use more efficiently, reducing unnecessary water consumption for hydration and handwashing.

Significant water savings and long-term benefits

Combined, these projects are estimated to save the San Polo plant 60m³ of water per day. This translates to annual savings exceeding the volume of water needed to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool eight times over.

Beyond the immediate water conservation benefits, these projects offer long-term advantages. The closed-loop system enhances the plant’s resilience during potential future droughts and water restrictions.

O-I’s commitment to water stewardship

O-I’s focus on water conservation extends beyond individual plant initiatives.

The company launched a Water Reduction Roadmap in 2022 to guide its sustainability efforts. This roadmap emphasises improved water monitoring systems and standardised data collection across all O-I facilities globally.

By implementing these water-saving strategies, O-I demonstrates its commitment to responsible water management and sustainable glass manufacturing practices.

This approach benefits the environment, ensures long-term business continuity, and aligns with the growing demand for eco-conscious manufacturing solutions.