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Award-winning Kirkintilloch manufacturer boosts profits just by becoming more resource efficient

With a strong environmental commitment, Guala Closures has made a number of improvements at its Kirkintilloch site, helping the business to cut its energy use, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slash hazardous waste.

Based in Kirkintilloch, about 8 miles north-east of Glasgow, Guala Closures UK is a leading supplier of closures and stoppers for the whisky, spirits and wine industries. With a 160-strong workforce, the company designs and manufactures over 300 million closures every year – closures that decorate and protect many of Scotland’s premium whisky brands and the world’s most recognised and prestigious bottles. 

The business is part of the Guala Closures Group which operates in 5 continents through 29 production plants and a sales network covering over 100 countries. 

The Group has a strong environmental commitment with each plant having stretching energy, water and waste reduction objectives to meet. As one of the first members of the group to achieve ISO140001 certification, the Kirkintilloch business is at the forefront of achieving these targets.

The business’s environmental track record was acknowledged in 2016 when it won the hotly contested VIBES Award for Innovation. 

The VIBES - Scottish Environment Business Awards are a partnership between Scottish Environment Protection Agency, The Scottish Government, Energy Saving Trust, Highland & Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Water, Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. The awards are also supported by CBI Scotland, the Institute of Directors, Federation of Small Businesses, Bright Green Business, Quality Scotland, Scottish Council for Development and Industry and the Scotch Whisky Association.

The Innovation Award recognises businesses that have developed innovative technologies, products, practices or services that bring environmental and business benefits. In 2016, Guala Closures UK won the award for developing a new and innovative all-in-one paint and metallisation production line.

The new production line improved the company’s product offering, mitigated the negative impacts of older plant breakdowns, opened new markets, and delivered many environmental and cost saving benefits, including:

  • 50% energy savings in drying-process costs by moving to UV curing.
  • 90% reduction in wastewater.
  • 58% reduction in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) use.
  • More efficient use of raw materials including a 40% increase in the number of parts painted per litre of paint (an increase of 40,000 to 70,000 parts painted per 25 litres of paint).
  • 60% reduction in waste through improved quality and reliability of the painting
  • Saving 30,000 litres of water per year via the integrated closed loop system for cooling lamps.

The new production line is just one of many projects that Guala Closures UK has undertaken at its Kirkintilloch plant to improve its use of resources. Other improvements include:

  • The installation of energy saving variable speed compressors.
  • Voltage Optimisation via three 11,00kVa transformers providing a guaranteed 12% energy reduction.
  • Upgrading chillers to high efficiency equipment.
  • Upgrading lighting to modern, high efficiency LEDs.
  • Upgrading injection moulding machines from hydraulic pump versions to all electric machines that use around 40% less electricity.
  • Working with their supply chain to implement opportunities for re-usable and returnable packaging.

Combined, these improvements have helped the business to cut energy use per finished product by 17%, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 9.4% and slash hazardous waste by 24.7%. 

Beyond these substantial environmental and related cost savings, the improvements have helped the Kirkintilloch site meet Group targets, strengthen their position in highly competitive markets, and respond to the growing pressure from customers to demonstrate environmental commitment and credentials.

“We’ve made a lot of improvements over the last 10 years that have radically changed our business, allowing us to cut costs, grow profits, reduce our environmental impact and win new customers. I would encourage other Scottish manufacturers to look at how they can transform their businesses too. There’s a lot of free support available that can help identify new opportunities, support projects financially and crucially, develop robust plans that drive continual improvement.”  Stuart Giles, Business Engineering and Site Services Manager, Guala Closures UK.

Guala Closures UK is part of the Green Network For Businesses, a network of exemplar businesses demonstrating and sharing best practice in resource efficiency. To request further information on the projects that Guala Closures UK has implemented, and to arrange a visit or call with the business, please visit the Guala Closures page on the Green Network for Businesses website.


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Our free service for Scottish businesses is funded by the Scottish Government and by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73 million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme. The support provided to this organisation was delivered by Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Scotland programme, which has been relaunched as Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support Service as of 1 April 2020.


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