Ball Corporation launches construction of UK’s largest aluminium packaging plant

Local and government leaders, including North Northamptonshire MP, Philip Hollobone, today (4 March 2022) 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.

A celebration to mark the construction of the plant was attended today 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% of people are taking steps to reduce single-use plastic and two-thirds want to do more.[1] Aluminium cans are currently the world’s most widely recycled beverage packaging, with a UK recycling rate of 82% and a European average of 76%.

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% less energy and 70% 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.

Carey Causey, president, Ball Beverage Packaging Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia (EMEA) said: “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.”

Local MP Philip Hollobone said: “I’m delighted to see this project go ahead. With its rich heritage, the production skills in Kettering are outstanding and it’s great to see a leading international company like Ball join the ranks of our existing manufacturers.

Councillor David Brackenbury, North Northamptonshire Council’s executive member for Growth and Regeneration, said: “One of our key priorities is helping to create the conditions to boost the economy in North Northamptonshire and I’m delighted to welcome Ball Corporation to our area as it brings a significant amount of foreign direct investment as well as a facility that is focussed on being as sustainable as possible. This development also brings with it significant employment opportunities to the local area in the sustainable manufacturing sector, which is a welcome addition to the North Northants economy. I look forward to seeing the production lines rolling!”

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.

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