1. As you know, Covid-19 deeply affects the trade and industry branches in the world. What kind of precautions have you taken as GCA in this context?
As Gürallar Cam Ambalaj, our priority has always been to prioritize respect for the environment and people at all stages of production within the framework of quality and safety standards. In this context, protecting the safety and health of our employees against COVID-19, which affects the whole world, is at the top of everything for us. In this context, the measures we have taken not only in GCA but in all of our group companies are as follows.
Since the first day, we started to regularly disinfect our offices and common areas every evening. While the use of masks and gloves is a mandatory and standard procedure in our hygiene points, masks are also provided for our administrative staff upon request. We continue our work for contactless doors to minimize interaction in our facilities and offices.
Our employees coming from abroad due to business travel, have been given administrative leave for 14 days from the date they returned. In addition, our employees who declared that they have a relative coming from abroad in the last 14 days, were sent to 14 days' leave. Also, all domestic and international travels have been canceled as of 9 March.
Again, within the scope of the precautions taken, our employees who are in the risk group, especially our pregnant and / or breastfeeding female employees, employees who have occupational or chronic diseases and who are disabled, have been given administrative leave for 14 days.
In order to protect the health of our employees, fever measurements are made by thermal cameras at the Istanbul office entrance and in the factories in Kütahya.Our meetings are held without any close contact and if possible online.
Personal cargoes are not accepted; our company cargoes are delivered to their owners after a disinfection process (waiting a few hours).
Our factories have been closed until a second date for all non-employee visitors such as customers, suppliers and consultants.
The use of masks and gloves for vehicle drivers and cargo personnel who come to our factories for shipment purposes has been initiated and a mobile dining hall has been established in our facility for these people.
Information posters published by our Ministry of Health were hung on the points that our employees can easily see (entrance doors, dining halls, toilets, offices, etc.). An informative leaflet about the ways to protect oneself from the epidemic and the symptoms was distributed to all employees.
The number of disinfectant stations in our facilities has been increased; it is ensured that each of our employees can reach disinfectant at more than one point in each department. In addition, our offices are supplied with cologne daily.
Our company shuttle buses are provided with disinfections on a daily basis. In addition, we have completed our preparations and started 50% use of the bus capacities.
The seating arrangement in our dining hall has been changed in accordance with the social distancing rule and the capacity of the dining hall has been halved. Along with this, risk assessments were made and new actions -such as removing of salt shaker, spice rack and napkin holders and heating of the lunch trays under the heater- were taken.
Alternatives of working from home were evaluated in our Kütahya and Istanbul locations and our employees in positions suitable for working from home were sent home until informed date.
By closely following the agenda, we constantly monitor developments and review the effectiveness of the precautions implemented. We will continue to increase our precautions in the coming period.
2. Could you give information about Gürallar Cam Ambalaj's place and activities in the sector as of today?
As Gürallar Cam Ambalaj (GCA), our goal has always been to add value to glass packaging sector and to contribute to the development of Turkey's economy since our establishment. We have a working principle where we prioritize business partnership and respect for our business partners. Currently, we produce transparent / colorless glass packaging products, which we call flint glass, that stands out with its quality and technology.
While representing our country as one of the members of the European Glass Packaging Manufacturers Association (FEVE), we are leading the way to convey the sustainability advantages of glass material and its unlimited recyclability to the society with the cooperation of FEVE and Friends of Glass, which is a social responsibility platform.
While the trend of healthy glass packaging is rising among consumers around the world, producers do not ignore this demand and are increasingly turning to glass packaging each year. As a company that exports to more than 15 countries in the world, we have increased our production capacity with our new line investment compared to last year. Adopting a qualified employment approach, Gürallar Group employs more than 1,500 employees only in the glass industry, while more than 300 of this figure consists of Gürallar Cam Ambalaj employees.
3. Do you plan for an increase in your annual production capacity or any developments / changes in the following years?
As Turkey we need investments with high added value, where technically and technologically advanced production methods are used, presented as a result of market and consumer foresight and even investments that will bring new sectors and consumption habits. As Gürallar Group, R&D is very important to us. We meet an important part of Turkey's glass packaging needs.
We are constantly increasing our share in national and international markets. In parallel with all these, we plan to double our production capacity with our new furnace investment that we plan to put into operation in the coming years.
4. Could you tell us about your products for the fruit juice, beverage and drinking water sector? Can you give information about the features and advantages of your products?
We know that it is very important for manufacturers to present their products in a healthy and pleasing way. For this reason, we manufacture high quality flint glass. Our glass bottles with glassware clarity create a strong perception for the products inside.
We produce our premium glass bottles for the beverage and premium drinking water sectors by reinterpreting them according to world trends. We design our premium bottles, which we designed as a result of R&D and innovative works, according to the satisfaction of our business partners. We make special project based designs in various diameters, finish types and heights by our award winning design team.
5. Could you tell us about the trends that have been effective in beverage and fruit juice packaging lately?
Pursuit of healthy and sustainable living, comes at the forefront of the packaging trends in Turkey. Glass packaging, not interacting with any food or drink, helps the foods to preserve their smell, aroma and taste for a long time. For this reason, glass packaging is a primary preference for those who care about a healthy and good life.
The fact that the world turns to the premium service approach in every respect emerges as a rising value. The changing habits of consumers lead our business partners to use more glass packaging. One of the most striking points in recent times is that glass packaging is increasingly preferred to reinforce the premium perception of drinking water and other beverage products and taking more place in the tables. In these categories, we have projects that have been realized with our boutique designs that are highly impressive and highly rated by consumers in Turkey, as well as abroad.
The rising sense of responsibility to reduce environmental damage also increases the popularity of glass packaging thanks to its nature-friendly structure. Glass packaging that provides energy and raw material savings with its 100% recyclability continues to be preferred by large masses. Lastly, the fact that recycling awareness is gaining more importance all over the world, promises hope for a greener future.
6. What is the current situation in the glass packaging market in Turkey and Europe?
According to the reports we obtain from global resources and domestic market research we can see that the glass packaging market in Turkey is now exceeds 7 billion units. In light of these analyses, we anticipate that this figure will increase to approximately 8 billion in 2022 with an annual growth of 2.5%.
The majority of the glass packaging products in Turkey, consists of water, mineral water and other soft drinks. By 2022, when we take into account the taste and health advantages of glass packaging on the product, we can predict that our industry will grow approximately 4% annually in the non-alcoholic beverage market.
According to the results of the survey conducted by FEVE with more than 1,500 participants in 2019 (75% women, 25% men), we observe that the ratio of European families recommending the use of glass packaging to their friends and families exceeded 90% (from 82% in 2016).
The survey also revealed that half of consumers consumed more glass packaging compared to 3 years ago. (Growth rate in Turkey is about 60%). 2 out of 5 consumers prefer glass packaging as it is more sustainable and recyclable.
7. The European Glass Packaging Industry launched the "Close the Glass Loop" movement to increase the glass collection rate for recycling across Europe to 90% by 2030. The move comes as a proactive response to new EU rules aimed at increasing glass packaging recycling to 75% by 2030. As GCA, what actions do you plan to take in this regard?
We have pioneered the sustainability benefits of glass to be transmitted to society in Turkey. We support the "Zero Waste" project, which will increase the glass recycling rate of 10% in our country and other projects carried out by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, implementing the relevant practices in our production facilities. Although the difference between us and Europe is large, we believe that we will make up the difference with the actions to be taken and the increasing awareness of the consumers.
With the support of the Environmental Protection and Packaging Waste Recycling Foundation (ÇEVKO), we ensure that our employees receive environmental and recycling training based on our sensitivity to protect the environment and packaging waste. More than 1,200 employees have participated in the trainings held until now, and our trainings working within the scope of ISO continue to be updated every year.
As part of our collaborative work with FEVE, we produce educational videos throughout the year and share content that will enable the public to be conscious about the use of glass packaging and recycling by taking an active role in the digital world.
8. Can you give information about glass recycling rate in our country and developed countries? What steps need to be taken to increase this rate in our country? In this context, can you talk about the sustainability advantages of glass?
Glass container collection rate for recycling, while over 75% in Europe is still in the range of 9-10% in Turkey. Many countries, especially in Europe, are implementing systems such as bottle banks and deposit return systems for the recycling of beverage packaging. Deposit system that provides significant increase in recycling, will be implemented in Turkey by 2021 according to the decision taken by the Urban Development Ministry.
The fact that glass is a material that can be recycled infinitely, makes it a resource that will never run out. In this respect, glass packaging that contributes to the environment, significantly reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions as a result of recycling in accordance with the Climate Action Goal.
9. Can you give information about the goals and investment projects of Gürallar Cam Ambalaj in the short and medium term?
Using high automation technologies in our factory gives us an advantages in many points. We check every product that comes out of the mold hourly according to quality, weight and shape defects. By making sure our products are of the highest quality possible, we maintain the trust we give to our business partners.
In addition, we support the process with laboratory tests that we carry out regularly. In addition to all these; considering industry 4.0 applications as an opportunity not to be missed for our country, our team is currently continuing digital transformation studies specific to our factory on auto control and intervention in production in various ongoing projects.
Apart from production and quality, we also have innovation-oriented projects in the service field. Thanks to our Customer Project Coordinator team, consisting of our talented engineers we assign to our customers, we communicate with our business partners at every step from the project stage to production to shipment. In addition, we provide our business partners with whom we conduct boutique projects the opportunity to obtain the product patents we have designed for them.
As Gürallar Cam Ambalaj, we benefit from cutting-edge technologies at every stage, and as a result of the digital transformation process, we believe that machine learning and artificial intelligence tools will play an active role in all processes. In this way, we believe that we can create solutions for new customer experiences and needs at the local and global level. With the growth brought by quality production, we plan to double our production capacity with our new furnace investment that we plan to put into operation in the coming years.
10. What do you plan to do within the scope of the "Furnace of the Future" project, a joint project of 20 glass packaging companies that are members of the European Glass Packaging Manufacturers Association?
As you mentioned; "The Furnace of the Future", designed under the leadership of the European Union of Glass Packaging Manufacturers, will be an important milestone on the carbonization journey of the glass packaging industry. As European Glass Packaging Manufacturers, we come together to build the first hybrid electric large-scale glass melting furnace that operates with 80% green energy. 20 glass packaging manufacturers, including Gürallar Cam Ambalaj, who is always a follower and practitioner of new technologies, will come together for the first time in history and work on this concept and mobilize its resources for the project.
The furnace, which will replace existing fossil fuel energy sources, will reduce total carbon dioxide emissions by 50% in glass production. Although some of the 150 glass production facilities in Europe are currently working with an electric furnace, most of them produce on a small scale and only with raw materials. Therefore, recycled glass is almost never used. The companies that have a say in the production of glass packaging are turning to new technologies in order to use more recycled raw materials. With this new furnace, the industry will be able to produce more than 300 tons of glass per day in one furnace using high levels of recycled glass.
Realizing ‘’The Furnace of the Future" is an extremely challenging project that requires a wide range of expertise, with significant financial and human resources. For this reason, it needs the technical skills and the best engineers of important glass container manufacturers, including Gürallar Cam Ambalaj.
The project, which is supported by Gürallar Cam Ambalaj in line with its sustainability goals, is planned to be completed in 2022, while the first results are expected to be achieved in 2023.