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Glass recycling in Shetland on a path to growth

16 April 2013

A recycling project run by a charitable trust in Shetland is investing in new technology which could increase production capacity by up to 500 percent.

Shetland Amenity Trust is undertaking a project which will help to reduce costs and grow production of their high quality recycled glass building products at their Enviroglass operation based in Cunningsburgh.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is investing £70,000 in the initiative alongside an additional £70,000 of LEADER funding - enabling the £195,000 project to progress this summer.

Enviroglass is the only glass recycling service in Shetland and currently processes 500-600 tonnes of glass per year.

The business forms a core part of the environmental improvement section of Shetland Amenity Trust and it has developed a range of high quality products and has built up a customer base both locally and on the mainland - with valuable sales coming from recycled glasscrete precast products. 

By using new implosion technologies specifically designed for glass recycling and adapting a building to enable the installation of a semi-automated production line, the project will increase the efficiency of both aggregate and precast production, helping reduce costs.

Sita Goudie from Enviroglass/Shetland Amenity Trust, said: “Enviroglass provides a local solution for Shetland’s waste glass, generates jobs within the isles, and removes the financial and carbon costs of shipping our waste to the mainland for recycling. We have developed high quality products made from 80 to 100% recycled glass however, the current methods severely limit our production capacity.

“The funding from HIE and LEADER will enable us to develop the business in ways we could not have done without the support, including a move to full production allowing us to target markets we could not supply in the past. Developing the business not only supports Shetland’s aspirations of being a more self-sufficient society, through retaining glass recycling in the isles, but, as Enviroglass is a social enterprise, also supports projects which enhance and protect our environment.”

Mhari Pottinger, HIE’s Head of Strengthening Communities in Shetland, said: “Enviroglass’s activities play a vital role in delivering local waste plans and meeting recycling targets and this project will play a key part in supporting Shetland Amenity Trust’s social objective of encouraging good environmental practise throughout the isles.  The Trust is committed to looking at ways to increase their level of traded activity through their numerous assets and in the long term this project could result in a 500% increase in production capacity and a 60% reduction in unit costs for this part of their operations.”

Tommy Coutts from the Shetland LEADER Programme, said:  “This project addresses a number of the key objectives of the LEADER programme, particularly promoting recycling and good environmental practices. It will secure the sustainability of the Enviroglass service through introducing new technology and innovative production methods, and will make a significant contribution to local recycling efforts. For those reasons the local LEADER programme is happy to support this project.”

Enviroglass’s 80% recycled glasscast products have been used extensively in a range of building and landscape design projects, - from garden paths to large scale public spaces and buildings.   They also work with customers to produce bespoke pieces, such as a recently completed bar top for The Spiggie Hotel in the south mainland of Shetland.

For more information on Enviroglass, visit

For more information on Shetland LEADER programme, visit

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