The facility will accept glass from 17 Scottish local authorities, recovering up to 97% of input materials.

The centre features some of the most advanced recycling technology in the world, including 15 ‘scientific eye’ optical sorters, x-ray sorters, over ½ km of conveyer belts and 2.5km of electrical cabling across 3 floors of processing towers.

Scottish cabinet secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment Richard Lochhead, who opened the facility, said: “I welcome this significant investment in modern recycling infrastructure. Glass packaging is important to a number of Scottish food and drinks manufacturers and glass recycling makes sense for our economy and the environment.

“In a world of finite resources, where global populations and consumption growth are driving increased volatility and vulnerability in the supply of raw materials, the circular economy offers a new and exciting perspective. 

“Recycling is just a part of that.  A more circular economy will conserve our finite resources, help support jobs in our communities, and improve our quality of life.”

Green base

The new centre is part of a £357m recycling and renewable energy investment by Viridor in Scotland over the last 25 months.

Viridor chief executive Ian McAulay said: “A vital key in unlocking Scottish Government circular economy policy, this latest investment will not only help drive glass recycling and the sustainability of Scotch whisky, but will be a real boost for a Lanarkshire economy fast becoming an important base for Scotland’s green sectors.”

Green spirit

Importantly, the output glass produced by the Newhouse centre will be 99% pure – meeting the requirements needed to make bottles for the high-end Scotch sector.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, the director of technical affairs at the Scottish Whisky Association, added: “The opening of Newhouse assists the Scotch Whisky industry by increasing the availability of high quality recycled glass. 

“As glass accounts for the vast majority of the packaging of Scotch, we welcome this supply chain innovation at Newhouse which advances glass recycling. Such developments help the industry in its commitment to sustainability and delivering on its environmental strategy.”

Other green initiatives in the sector have seen global drinks firm Diageo generate two million cubic metres of biogas a year from its whiskey factory in Scotland thanks to a new anaerobic digestion plant.

Scottish company Celtic Renewables has also launched a pioneering new project to turn waste from the distillation process into a usable biofuel.

 Brad Allen

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