Bright Future For Old Bottles

by Alastair Hamilton -

Folk in Shetland are keen to play their part in recycling, but recycling glass used to present a problem, simply because of the cost of shipping it back to the UK mainland.

Several years ago, Shetland Amenity Trust developed new ways of recycling old bottles and jars locally, by crushing them and using them for a range of purposes. Glass was turned into aggregate for concrete and the concrete was turned into paving slabs that boasted a sparkling finish. Crushed glass was sold for decorative use, too. Finely-ground glass was found to be an excellent material for use in shot-blasting.

Products from the Enviroglass plant were successfully used in many projects in Shetland, such as the new Scalloway Museum and the Shetland Museum and Archives. Paving slabs were exported as far as the south of England. However, having directly operated the business, known as Enviroglass, for some time, the Trust has recently decided to lease it a local family company that is experienced in the precast industry, Shetland Precast and Groundworks Limited.

The company has been producing precast paving for use in their projects for more than a year but they quickly found that the demand for locally produced paving was greater than could be met from their premises at Quarff, a few miles north of the Enviroglass site in the village of Cunningsburgh. At the same time, Shetland Amenity Trust was considering its options with regard to running the Enviroglass site, so the possibility of leasing it to Shetland Precast and Groundworks Limited was explored.

Paving slabs were exported as far as the south of England

Sita Goudie, Environmental Improvement Officer at the Shetland Amenity Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working with Shetland Precast and Groundworks Limited. Their experience in the precast industry, and ability to offer supply and laying of the pavers, will greatly improve the service which can be offered by Enviroglass.”

Alongside their own products, Shetland Precast and Groundworks Limited will supply all of the products previously produced by Enviroglass, including its 100% recycled glass aggregates and 80% recycled glass paving. They’ll take on all the existing Enviroglass customers.

Bobby Roberts, Director of Shetland Precast and Groundworks Limited, said: “Working with the Shetland Amenity Trust is a fantastic opportunity for us and gives us the ability to scale our business far faster than we could have on our own. Whilst we are a very experienced groundworks company, our precasting is a relatively new addition but it took off far faster than we had imagined. We quickly outgrew our old premises and were producing our pavers the old fashioned way. This site at Cunningsburgh not only gives us more room but also all the equipment to mechanise and scale up precast production, as well as the ability to produce new aggregate products – garden glass, all-in and shotblast.”

a fantastic opportunity for us

The Enviroglass name will still be used, alongside that of Shetland Precast and Groundworks Limited, to highlight which products are produced using recycled glass.

Enviroglass is an elegant solution to one of Shetland’s recycling challenges. You can find out more on the Enviroglass website.

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