Shetland Amenity Trust - Enviroglass Business Development

LEADER funding was used implement improved production methods at the Enviroglass, allowing higher productivity and reduced production costs

Enviroglass is a social enterprise which recycles all of the waste glass collected by Shetland Islands Council through kerbside collection and bottle bank schemes. This glass is processed into recycled glass products, including aggregate, abrasive blasting products and precast concrete paving slabs. The business is the only glass recycling service in Shetland and processes between 500 and 600 tonnes of glass annually.

In 2011, a review of the business concluded that production methods (for crushing glass into chips and producing paving slabs) were inefficient, requiring considerable manual labour, and done using equipment which was not purpose-built for the task, leading to high costs for finished products. This was deemed to be a barrier to commercial production.

To address these issues and to put the business on a more commercial footing, the Trust put together a plan to purchase new imploder technology specifically designed for recycling glass. This technology reduces maintenance costs and running costs (due to smaller motors), and decreases production times as inefficient practices are removed from the production line. This was combined with a renovation of the existing building to allow more storage space and the installation of a semi-automated production line to allow for greater production capacity, reduced manual handling, more curing space and reduced unit production costs. The effect of this is to allow the business to produce the added value products (the paving slabs) at greater capacity with reduced costs, leading to greater commercialisation and the ability to access new markets for recycled products.

With the help of a LEADER grant of £70,000, 36% of costs, the improvements have allowed the business to produce higher quality products at reduced costs. This increased commercialisation has helped to secure the future of this service which is a crucial part of Shetland’s efforts to increase recycling and combat waste.

Sita Goudie from Shetland Amenity Trust, said “Enviroglass’ activities play a vital role in delivering local waste plans and meeting recycling targets and this project will play a key role in supporting Shetland Amenity Trust’s social objective of encouraging good environmental practise throughout the isles….long term this project could result in a 500% increase in production capacity and a 60% reduction in unit costs for this part of their operations.”

Further information is available on Enviroglass here

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