Scotland leads the way in glass recycling

Scottish companies are playing a key role on the glass recycling front, with major investment at an established plant and innovation on two fronts – with William Tracey’s new Allglass Reprocesses and the Envirolite solution to the nationwide problem of recycling electric light tubes. Editor Alexander Catto reports

Glass recycling in Scotland received a boost last month with the opening of the upgraded United Glass recycling centre at Kelliebank in Alloa. This followed a £1.3 million investment of PRN money by the company in a state-of-the-art glass processing plant and a new visitor centre.

“Reusing glass packaging waste to make new bottles and jars is the most sustainable form of glass recycling,” he maintained.

“We are aware of the development of other end uses for recycled glass, such as roadfill and aggregates. It will be important that the promotion of these alternatives does not jeopardise the well-established colour-separated bottle bank system.”

The Kelliebank project has involved the complete rebuild and automation of the plant, increasing its potential output of “furnace-ready” recycled glass to more than 100,000 tonnes a year. The process automatically detects and removes ceramic contaminants.

neering new method

William Tracey Ltd, one of the largest independent waste management and recycling companies in Scotland, is pioneering a new method for glass recycling in Britain with the launch recently of its new company – Allglass Reprocessors Ltd.

Allglass Reprocessors Ltd will be able to uplift all types of glass and will not require the customer to separate it into different colours or remove labels and corkage prior to uplift. The machinery used to do this, which is the first of its kind in the UK, has been engineered to complete the sorting process on site.

Initially, William Tracey Ltd will be creating six new jobs at the Linwood plant to manage and run Allglass Reprocessors and hopes to provide additional employment to a total of 12 workers.

The company, which has four depots across the west of Scotland: Linwood depot, Renfrewshire; Middleton depot, North Ayrshire; Dunniflats depot, North Ayrshire; and Pinwhinnie depot, Glenmavis. The company has installed the new and innovative glass recycling plant at its Linwood recycling depot.

The glass recycling machinery was developed by Minpro International Ltd, a mineral processing company based in Ontario, Canada. Since its establishment in 1976, Minpro has diversified to provide solutions for the waste treatment and recycling industries and has recently developed new technologies for glass recycling.

Waste glass has become problem both financially and environmentally. Recycling glass in the past has proven to be unprofitable and the majority of waste glass has ended up in landfill. The complex process of sorting glass before it can be recycled, to eliminate contaminants, is timely and costly. Many glass recycling companies insist that the glass be separated and de-contaminated.

Michael Tracey, Managing Director of William Tracey Ltd, said: “We anticipate that between 15,000 and 25,000 tonnes of glass will be recycled at the plant during the first year of operation. The glass will come from a variety sources including domestic waste and our commercial customers. The recycled glass product will mainly be used for sub-layer aggregate material, fluxing agents in brick manufacturing and water filtration.”

He continued: “The use of recycled glass in these markets helps reduce energy consumption, waste disposal costs and improves the efficiency of these applications. The process also helps to conserve the environment by reducing the use of raw materials and, therefore, the need to quarry. Glass re-cycling increases public awareness of the problem of waste management and creates employment opportunities.”

William Tracey Ltd, which is a family firm founded in 1948, offers a cost effective solution for local authorities, construction and manufacturing companies needing to dispose of waste through the four depots in the West of Scotland.

The company’s clear commitment to an efficient waste management policy is demonstrated by ISO 14001 certification, the recognised world standard for environmental management systems. William Tracey Ltd is the only waste management service company in Scotland to have achieved this accreditation for all of its services including transport, disposal and recycling.

Electric light disposal

Scottish enterprise is also behind another novel solution to the need for disposal of the vast quantity of redundant lighting tubes which are replaced each year across the UK – an estimated 80 million tubes end up in landfill every year.

The Envirolite “Bulb Eater” lamp recycling operates nationwide, with head office in Perth at parent group Holden Environmental Services.

The process involves two operations – the collection of tubes on site using the Bulb Eater fitted to a 45 gallon drum which will hold 1,000 to 1,250 crushed lamps in safety. The crushed lamps are then transported to Perth for separation of constituent elements, including mercury, as part of a comprehensive recycling process for crushed glass, scrap metal, and toxic powder.

The second stage of the process employs Envirolite’s RTI (Iowa) Lamp Recycling, which originates in the United State but which has been developed further in Scotland to provide an integrated process with the “Bulb Eaters” operating at the initial crushing stage at sites across the UK.

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