SUSTAINABILITY

Our Commitment

As the largest provider of metal food packaging in the United States, Silgan Containers is trusted by America’s most respected brands. Our reputation is based on a foundation of quality, excellence and unsurpassed technical expertise, enabling us to be a dedicated solutions-based partner to our customers.

Please see our latest 2022 CSR Report for more details. 2023 Report will be available in Q3 of 2024.


Sustainability Targets

2023 was significant for our Sustainability Program. Our 2022 report highlighted the achievement of our first round of sustainability targets. Based on these successes, we announced several new targets pertaining to governance, water stewardship, and supply chain engagement. Silgan is proud to announce that we achieved all 2023 targets:

  • We reported to CDP for the first time at the group level.
  • As part of our CDP submission, an independent third party verified our data.
  • We joined the USEPA Green Power Partnership in November.
  • We signed the SBTi commitment letter.

We are pleased with our successes to date, as they demonstrate our commitment to achieving results for our environment and our people.

2023 Commitment Completed
Report to CDP
Third-party verify GHG data
Join USEPA's Green Power Partnership
Sign the SBTi commitment letter
2025 Commitment Target* Current
Renewable energy matching 40% 22.7%
Reduce Scope 1 & 2 emissions -40% -26.4%
Zero Waste to landfill facilities 10 8
2030 Commitment Target* Current
Reduce electricity consumption 20% -1.3%
Reduce natural gas consumption -15% -8.0%
Renewable energy matching 50 22.7%
Reduce Scope 1 & 2 emissions -50% -26.4%
Zero waste to landfill facilities 20 8

*Basis Year: 2016, energy and emissions; 2020, waste and water

2023 Data Highlights

GHG EMISSIONS (TCO2e)

Furthered our greenhouse gas (GHG) Reduction in 2023 by reducing our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 22.0%. This was driven by three trends: improvements in our energy efficiency, matching our electricity consumption with renewable energy, and the ongoing decarbonization of the U.S. electricity grid.

(Swipe to view data)

ENERGY (GJ)

Since 2016, Silgan has reduced our total energy consumption by 6.1%. We have conducted energy audits at 18 of our facilities as part of the Dept. of Energy’s Better Plants Programs. We have been building access to Renewable Energy sources through Wind Farms, Solar Panels, and more. We have also been incorporating renewable energy into our energy procurement strategy.

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WATER WITHDRAWL (m3)

Water withdrawal in drought-region locations decreased by -43.8% since 2020. However, our overall water withdrawal across the country was 1.065 million cubic meters in 2023--a 4.3% increase versus 2020. Water usage overall increased slightly which may be due to increased production of D&I cans, which utilize water as a coolant. We are installing additional water meters to investigate this further.

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WASTE (tonne)

Silgan’s waste production decreased -12.6% vs. 2020. Hazardous waste material (solvent-based materials) decreased by 42.7%. About 33% of our plants will soon qualify for Zero Waste to Landfill status. These trends derive from our recycling efforts and push towards zero waste to landfill in our facilities. As of 2023, eight facilities have achieved zero waste to landfill status.

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What's Next for Scope 3?

Now that Silgan has made strides on measuring and improving our Scope 1 and Scope 2 environmental programs, we are beginning to work on Scope 3. Look for our first improvements starting in 2024.

(Swipe to view data)

What do the different GHG emissions “scopes” mean? The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) divides emissions into three scopes:
Scope 1 emissions – direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by a company (We Burn)
Scope 2 emissions – indirect emissions from purchased electricity, steam, heat, and cooling (We Buy)
Scope 3 emissions – all other emissions associated with a company’s activities (Beyond our control)

Strategic Oversight

Sustainability is not just important to us, it is critical for our food manufacturing customers and end consumers. That is why Sustainability is one of our five core imperatives across the entire organization.

To ensure we are working on the right projects and objectives, we employ both a top-down and bottom-up approach to ensure the initiatives we undertake have our full commitment and are resourced to achieve their highest potential. 

From executive leadership down to each individual location, the entire Silgan Containers community is committed to delivering on our Sustainability targets and goals.

 

Supporting Departments

The Steering Committee is responsible for overseeing and executing our program. It reviews data reporting, programs and initiatives, and overall strategy.

Sustainability Team

The Sustainability Team manages the day-to-day operations of the program: data collection, program implementation, customer reports, stakeholder engagement, etc.

Steering Commitee

Several departments support the Sustainability Team and Steering Committee on our sustainability program. These include:

  • Engineering - Project management related to energy and resource consumption
  • Human Resources - Employee engagement and wellness
  • Marketing - Stakeholder communications
  • Operations - Production and facility management
  • Regulatory - Compliance with regulations and voluntary codes
  • Safety - Safety risk identification and mitigation
  • Sales - Customer requests and expectations

Sustainability Programs

Graphic of a green house-shaped icon with a downward arrow and the CO2 formula, symbolizing greenhouse gas emission reductions, surrounded by yellow flowers.
DOE Better Plants™ Program
  • Voluntary partnership with DOE on energy efficient facilities
  • Approx. 75% of facilities audited and over 40 recommendations implemented.
Two workers in high-visibility vests, one holding a solar panel, discussing energy usage reduction in an industrial setting.
Renewable Energy (VPPA)
  • Financed wind energy farm in Ford County, IL.
  • Approx. 135k MWh energy generated annually.
  • Investigating Phase 2 VPPA & on-site renewable energy.
Hands holding a small globe of moss, representing the DOE 'Better Plants' Program for environmental conservation.
Recycling/Zero Waste to Landfill
  • Partnership with waste disposal provider to maximize recycling in all facilities.
  • Part of longer-term push to achieve zero waste to landfill and circularity in operations.
  • Launched recycling signage to standardize recycling communication companywide.
Close-up of a person's hands gently cupping water in a natural body of water, implying clean water initiatives
Water Stewardship
  • Internal program on water stewardship (targeting completion in 2024).
  • Prioritizing water-intensive processes and water-stressed regions.
  • Focus on water-efficient appliances and processes.
Pile of various empty metal cans ready for recycling, indicating waste management and recycling efforts.
Safety
  • Top priority in our operations remains the safety of our employees.
  • Industry-leading OSHA recordable incident rate of 1.26 (incidents/100 employees).
  • Approx. 50% or our facilities reported zero recordable work-related incidents in 2023.
Industrial scene with a tree in the foreground and a manufacturing plant emitting steam in the background, suggesting industry-related environmental challenges.
Employee Engagement
  • Engineering and Sales teams, plant personnel training on sustainability at Silgan.
  • Shared meals and employee gatherings to celebrate retirements, safety performances, etc.
Industrial scene with a tree in the foreground and a manufacturing plant emitting steam in the background, suggesting industry-related environmental challenges.
Community Outreach
  • Participation in community events (fundraising, career fairs, etc.).
  • Educating consumers on the sustainability benefits of metal food cans.
  • Companywide National Canned Food Month drive donated over 70,000 lb. of canned food to local food pantries.
Embracing Circularity

The Benefits of Aluminum and Steel

Aluminum and steel are two of the most sustainable materials in the world, valued for their durability (unique strength characteristics), shelf stability for food products (nutrition preservation without refrigeration energy requirement), and 100% and infinite recyclability (ideal of circularity). Each substrate offers advantages and opportunities depending on the product fill and market.

 

Aluminum
Steel
Food Waste

Food Waste

Metal food packaging is recognized for its shelf stability

  • Long-term preservation reduces food waste
  • Food waste is a top contributor to global GHG emissions 1
Energy Savings

Energy Savings

Metal food packaging does not require energy-intensive preservation methods

  • No refridgeration or freezing means less GHG emissions
Recyclability

Recyclability

Aluminum and steel are two of the most recycled materials in the US and globally 2 3 4

  • US food cans – Steel: 58% 5 | Aluminum: 45.2% 6
  • High value product in recycling stream
  • Drives down carbon intensity
  • Steel is magnetic, which increases it recapture rate at reclamation facilities
Recycled Content

Recycled
Content

Aluminum production can consume recycled aluminum

  • Different alloys tolerate different recycled content amounts
  • Post-industrial and post-consumer both acceptable

Steel production can consume recycled steel

  • Metal chemistry and quality requirements for food packaging currently dictate recycled content
  • Post-industrial and post-consumer both acceptable
Carbon Intensity

Carbon
Intensity

Aluminum production is carbon intensive due to current technologies

  • Reduction of alumina with carbon anodes to extract oxygen
  • High recycled content mitigates GHG concerns

Steel production is carbon intensive due to current technologies

  • Reduction of pig iron with oxygen to extract carbon
  • Steel suppliers are investing less carbon-intense technologies
Circularity

Circularity

Aluminum and steel can be recycled virtually infinitely, which means that it can be reused to make new material. This positions them as crucial materials in the circular economy

  • Most aluminum and steel ever produced is still in use today 7 8
Two cans

Bottom Line

Aluminum and steel substrates have a distinct sustainability advantage due to their unique chemical properties, longevity in the market, and inherent circularity. Technology and process improvements over the next few decades by aluminum and steel mills will address the substrates' carbon intensities, positioning them as two pivotal materials in the future circular economy.

1 Zhu, Jingya, et al. Cradle-to-grave emissions from food loss and waste represent half of total greenhouse gas emissions from food systems. Nature Food, 2023.

2 USEPA, Facts and Figures about Materials, Waste, and Recycling.

3 International Aluminum, Aluminum Recycling Factsheet.

4 Bureau of International Recycling, World Steel Recycling in Figures, 2017-2021.

5 The Aluminum Association, The Aluminum Can Advantage.

6 American Iron and Steel Institute et al., Determination of Steel Container Recycling Rates in the United States.

7 The Aluminum Association, Recycling

8 SUSTAIN Steel, Scrap: Our Greatest Resources?

Committed to Efficiencies Through the Supply Chain

Easy handling, fast filling with low spoilage makes cans a natural choice for streamlined, cost-efficient production and reliable distribution.

less energy

Food cans require up to 70% less energy throughout the supply chain compared to refrigerated and frozen foods. (Metal Packaging Europe)

Less secondary packaging

Cans require significantly less secondary packaging than alternative packages because of their inherent strength. (Metal Packaging Europe)

Stock up

Canned foods’ long shelf-life and preserved taste let consumers stock up and stay supplied. (CannedGood.org)

Storage benefits

In the retail environment, steel packaging can be easily stored, handled and stacked. It is virtually impossible to spill or break. (APEALm Steel for Packaging Naturally)

Reduced emissions

New steel produced with recycled cans reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 75%. (Can Central)

Lower transportation costs

Silgan has over two dozen manufacturing facilities throughout the United States, which allows for significant savings in transportation costs. Most of our plants are adjacent to our customer’s production facilities, which reduces GHG emission footprint. (Contact Silgan)

Recycling

Steel & Aluminum: Infinitely Recyclable

While our packages protect and preserve our customers’ products, thanks to their 100% recyclability they are also helping to minimize our impact on the environment.

85-90%
of all steel ever produced is still in use today (Arcelor Mittal, 2024).

Steel cans have a
58%
recycling rate, the highest of any food
package (Canned Good, 2024).

Nearly
75%
of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today (The Aluminum Association, 2024).

How Recycling
Steel Saves Resources

Saves natural resources

Every ton of recycled steel saves 3,600 pounds of CO2, 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone (Can Manufacturers Institute).

Saves energy

Recycled aluminum requires 95% less energy than producing new aluminum and generates only 5% of the greenhouse gas emissions. 75% of all aluminum produced in history is still in use (The World Counts).

Reduces waste

Making new steel products from recycled steel reduces water use by 40%, water pollution by 76%, air pollution by 86% and mining waste by 97% (EURIC AISBL).

EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

Silgan is dedicated to raising awareness of recycling and sustainability within the industry. We connect people to educational, environmental and recycling resources, showing them how they can join us in the fight to spread environmental awareness and help save our planet.