Tuesday 21 May 2024
 7.6°C   ESE Light Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

News / SIC: exporting glass for recycling is cheaper

The amenity trust is considering the future options for the site.

SHETLAND’s only dedicated glass recycling plant says its huge backlog of bottles will now be processed after issues with machinery and equipment were resolved.

However, uncertainty remains over the longevity of the award-winning Enviroglass project after Shetland Islands Council revealed it is cheaper – and potentially better for the environment – to ship glass to the Scottish mainland for processing.

Since June, the council has had to send glass south after Cunningsburgh-based Enviroglass requested that it no longer receive any more materials.

Shetland Amenity Trust general manager Jimmy Moncrieff said the council had reduced the fee it pays Enviroglass for processing the glass from £37,000 a few years ago to £15,000 since 2012.

“We are not taking in any new glass unless the council reconsiders the amount they pay us,” he said.

Concerns have been raised locally over a “mountain” of bottles which has materialised in public view at the amenity trust-owned recycling project over the last number of months.

Enviroglass manager Sita Goudie confirmed that the backlog of glass would now be dealt with after problems with machinery caused delays with processing.

“Enviroglass is open,” she said. “There was a period of inactivity due to vehicle and equipment failure which has now been resolved. The glass bottles on site can now be processed.”

Moncrieff added that Enviroglass had enough glass for the next three years, time that would be used to re-negotiate terms with the local authority.

The company, which has been running in its current form for over ten years, has won national awards for recycling and innovation.

Last year, over 440 tonnes of glass was collected in Shetland from its bottle banks, which are spread across the isles in around 50 locations.

Over the past few months, Shetland Islands Council has stored glass in Lerwick before shipping it to the Scottish mainland.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


A spokesman for its waste management department said this method is actually “as good as an environmental outcome, if not better” than transporting glass to Cunningsburgh for processing locally.

This is because the bottles are being recycled to make more bottles – a process which apparently uses less energy than reusing glass to make items like paving and shotblast, which Enviroglass does.

It is also cheaper for the council to ship the glass south, partly through the local authority receiving money for providing the materials to the processing plant. Previously, the SIC had to pay a “gate fee” to Enviroglass.

“In June, Shetland Amenity Trust informed Shetland Islands Council that Enviroglass would not be taking any more glass,” the SIC spokesman said.

“There is an income for the SIC after shipping, so the costs balance out. It’s as good as an environmental outcome, if not better, because it’s bottle to bottle – there’s less energy used in that process.”

Meanwhile, the future of recycling in Shetland is set to be explored in greater detail after the SIC’s environment and transport committee voted last Monday to adopt the Scottish Government and COSLA’s charter on household recycling.

The council will now work with Zero Waste Scotland on how to best maximise recycling options in the isles and determine the best environmental outcome it can afford.

It will discuss with experts from Zero Waste Scotland issues like the impact of different methods/frequencies of collection, how and where the waste is sorted and specific local factors.

“This will generate options for the council on the most economic collection and disposal arrangements for waste and recycling, including glass,” infrastructure director Maggie Sandison said.

“The council will then consider these options and decide how its future waste and recycling services will be delivered.

“Clearly if an on-island solution was demonstrated to be the best economic and environmental solution for any of the key recyclates – glass, paper, card, plastic, ferrous and non-ferrous metal – this would be recommended to the council.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.