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£5.5M investment in world first sustainable energy setup

Matt Dobson: Last Updated 17th February 2022
Posted In: Company News | Investment xx 31179

Carbon Neutral Packaging Materials

New investment provides green corrugated cardboard for use at GWP

Two of the partners in Corrboard – the corrugator GWP helped launch and continues to have strong ties with – have invested £5.5m in the creation of a sustainable energy generation facility fuelled by organic waste.

The investment in CorrBoard Bioenergy (CB Bio) by Swanline and McLaren Packaging, will facilitate the production of carbon neutral corrugated material for use at GWP’s manufacturing plant in Cricklade, Wiltshire.

There is also the potential for some of the waste needed for the 6,400 megawatt / annum energy plant to be sourced from GWP’s packaging users who require compliant food waste disposal. This, in turn, would create a robust circular economy.

Corrboard Bio Energy site
The Corrboard Bio-Energy site, adjacent to Corrboard UK's manufacturing facility, in Scunthorpe

What is the Corrboard Anaerobic Digester?

CB Bio is located adjacent to CorrBoard UK, the consortium-owned independent corrugated producer based in Scunthorpe of which GWP are part owners.

The plant, which uses German BioConstruct Anaerobic Digester (AD) technology and was installed by British firm BioG-UK, has the capacity to divert 25,000 tonnes of biological waste from landfill. This would be able to provide more than twice CorrBoard UK’s energy consumption (currently 400KWh) or the equivalent electricity and heat to sustain 1,500 homes.

The by-product that the plant produces can also be used as a fertiliser, suitable for spreading on local farmland to aid crop growing. The plant is modular in construction too, and therefore output capacity can be increased in future if the opportunity arises.

Corrboard anaerobic digester
The anaerobic digester has the capacity to process 25,000 tonnes of organic waste

Although autonomous neighbouring businesses, this innovative facility effectively makes CorrBoard UK’s production carbon neutral, providing an advantage to its customers and partners.

With advanced processing and software technology, the CB Bio plant can be operated remotely out of hours to maximise the uptime efficiency of the 800KwHr CHP units.

CorrBoard UK also has the ability to switch seamlessly between electricity from CB Bio and the National Grid, thereby providing protection against outage from either source.

Corrboard, Scunthorpe
Worlds first anaerobic digestion renewable energy plant to facilitate energy for the manufacture of corrugated sheet board

The CB Bio plant also has an automated de-packing line, but provision has been made to accommodate waste delivered in tankers, on pallets or in specialist skips.

In addition to vegetable food waste, the company is certified to process Category 2 and 3 animal by-product (ABP) waste.

Benefits of Corrboard Bio-Energy

The clear benefit of the AD Plant is that it allows the production of the carbon neutral materials which can be used for manufacturing packaging, thus passing the benefit onto GWP customers.

But besides this, it also allows for GWP customers a sustainable way to manage their waste – particularly businesses in the food and drink industries.

Ruth Cook, Managing Director of GWP Group commented;

We believe this is the first anaerobic digester in the world that is being used in the manufacture of sustainable corrugated cardboard.

She continues;

So as increasing numbers of businesses look to transition to more environmentally friendly packaging, being able to offer materials and solutions that are genuinely greener is of huge interest to them. We are already talking with a number of customers for whom having their packaging making up part of a circular, sustainable economy, is really appealing.

Quick Facts

Below are a number of key facts and figures regarding the Corrboard anaerobic digester…

  • German BioConstruct Anaerobic Digester (AD) technology
  • £5.5m cost – investment by Swanline and McLaren Packaging
  • 20 year fixed tariff project collecting ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificate) and RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) tariffs
  • CorrBoard UK uses approximately 400KWh of energy – AD plant produces 800KWh
  • [Believed to be] World’s first anaerobic digestion renewable energy plant to facilitate energy for the manufacture of corrugated sheet board
  • Fuelled by food and drink waste in a circular economy
  • Capacity to process 25,000 tonnes of organic waste
  • Waste converted to renewable energy to power the creation CO2 neutral raw material
  • 6,400 megawatt / annum output
  • 2 x 400KWh CHP (Combined Heat and Power) units
  • Enough energy production to sustain 1,500 homes or twice CorrBoard UK’s consumption
  • Circular solution from process waste, to energy, to material, to packaging, to process waste…and around again.
  • Zero waste to landfill – waste packaging etc. shipped to Biomass plant for incineration into further energy
  • Licensed to process all vegetable based waste and ABP2 / ABP3 certified product
  • Spent feedstock is processed into PAS110 certified quality fertiliser for spreading on local fields for crop generation
  • Direct wire and heat into CorrBoard UK – seamless transfer
Anaerobic digester
German BioConstruct Anaerobic Digester (AD) technology is used at the Corrboard facility

Overview video

A brief overview video – highlighting the key elements of the project – is available to view on the GWP YouTube channel.

Please click below in order to view this, or click here to see all of GWP’s packaging videos.

Other Environmental Initiatives at GWP

GWP have ourselves continually invested in green initiatives over the past decade.

For example, all lighting at our Cricklade facility was switched to LED. The project has resulted in a reduction in energy usage by 114,000Kwh per year, and has also lowered C02 emissions by 47 tons annually.

Corrboard corrugator
The Corrboard corrugator, of which GWP Group are part owners.

Besides this, GWP have sought to use the most efficient and modern production equipment and machinery available, including new die cutting equipment and a material baler that had significant environmental benefits.

This focus on environmentally friendly packaging has even extended to product development – such as Corrispring cardboard alternative to foam packaging, and the new Rapitainer returnable transit packaging solution.

Ruth Cook also added;

As a company we have always looked to how we can be more sustainable, and how we can help our customers to be so too. Whether this is helping businesses eliminate unnecessary plastics from their packaging, providing reusable solutions instead of single use items, or even switching all of our lighting to LED, it can all have a positive impact on our environment. Using carbon neutral, truly sustainable materials seemed like the logical next step.

About Corrboard

Located in Scunthorpe, the UK’s newest Corrugator is housed in a 320,000 square foot facility. The new equipment and venture as a whole provides a huge range of benefits for GWP Group, and in particular, the consistent supply of high quality raw materials (i.e. corrugated cardboard).

Carbon neutral cardboard
Waste is converted to renewable energy at the plant to power the creation of CO2 neutral raw material

Find Out More

For further information on Corrboard Bio Energy, you can visit the dedicated website at

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About the Author

Matt Dobson

Marketing Manager | GWP Group

Matt has worked in the packaging industry for approximately 9 years, having joined GWP Group as Marketing Executive in 2012. [Read full bio…]

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