Scottish Parliament hears about Enviroglass

by Alastair Hamilton -

Members of the Scottish Parliament have been told about a unique glass recycling project in Shetland.

Delegates at a special session of the Scottish Government's Cross Party Group on Architecture and the Built Environment heard how Shetland is using its waste glass in an innovative way to produce high quality products. The special session was arranged so that MSPs could find out how using building materials from local sources is not only good for the environment, but can create skilled jobs and support regeneration.

The group heard evidence from academics, architects and a carbon consultancy, then invited Sita Goudie from Enviroglass to explain how Shetland has developed a unique way to deal with its waste glass. The company - operated by Shetland Amenity Trust - crushes the glass and uses it in a variety of ways. Some decorative glass is sold but the MSPs' interest was focused on the use of crushed glass as an aggregate in the production of pre-cast items such as paving slabs. The slabs are produced in a range of colours and sizes and the inclusion of glass creates a natural sparkle. Intended for use indoors or outdoors, the product has won admirers all over the UK.

The use of glass in this way avoids the need to transport many tonnes of glass from Shetland to mainland glass recycling plants and it also reduces consumption of local sand and aggregate.

Jean Urquhart MSP, who chaired the meeting, described the event as "An extraordinarily good and interesting evening" and promised to help the group take forward the unanimous message that the Scottish Government could unlock significant environmental, economic and social benefits by enabling producers and users of sustainable building materials to compete more equally with more modern mass-produced products. She was also very impressed with what is happening in Shetland and hopes to visit the Enviroglass plant in Shetland in the new year.

Sita Goudie added that new equipment had just been installed, which would enable production of pre-cast items by 500%. "We hope that, by raising the profile of our social enterprise at national level, we can attract new customers and increase our sales nationally."

You can find out more on the Enviroglass website.