THE POLYCRUB team is celebrating after scooping a prize the VIBES Scottish Environment Business Awards.
It was one of four companies to bag an outstanding achievement award in recognition of its commitment to tackling environmental impacts and reducing carbon emissions.
The awards were presented by Scottish minister for just transition, employment and fair work Richard Lochhead at a ceremony today (19 October).
Polycrub began life as a small community project that has grown into a highly profitable business using waste pipes from fish farming to make high strength polytunnels that can withstand Shetland’s weather.
The company was created by Nortenergy, which is part of the Northmavine Community Development Company.
Nortenergy chair Drew Ratter said: “Nortenergy’s approach to creating the Polycrub has always been heavily informed by the fight against climate change. The first crubs were created as part of a climate change project, to encourage local food production.
“We came up with the idea of using recycled materials right from the start and looking at the big aquaculture industry in Shetland we were keen to help them to recycle.
“It is a strongly mutual interest. They are keen to recycle plastic pipe, and it is ideal for the structural element of the polycrub. It is a big win for both us and them, and we propose to use the recycled pipe to the extent of its availability.
“So it feels to me that winning this VIBES award is a big win for us and for the important Scottish aquaculture sector. We are extremely pleased.”
The VIBES Awards are a partnership between organisations like the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the Scottish Government, Energy Saving Trust and Highland and Islands Enterprise.
The outstanding achievement winners were selected from a shortlist of 12 good practice award recipients following a “rigorous judging process” conducted by a multi-agency panel.
SEPA’s Jo Green, who was a judge, said: “Businesses have a significant role to play in tackling the climate challenges we face, from providing customers with sustainable solutions to addressing their own operational impacts on the environment.
“What Polycrub and our other winners demonstrate is that not only is this possible, but it is also in fact profitable.”
Fellow judge Douglas Cowan, from HIE, added: “Polycrub is a fantastic example of a rural social enterprise that not only overcomes the challenges of the region’s geography but capitalises on it.
“The innovation we have seen here is inspiring. As well as recycling a waste product, generating community income and creating jobs, this social enterprise is helping communities in other fragile areas who face similar challenges.
“As the country moves to an economy based on net zero emissions, others will surely draw inspiration from projects like this.”
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