The environmental credentials of Scotland’s largest export will take a significant step forward this summer following the announcement by Scotland’s leading resources and renewables partner, Viridor, of a £25m investment in the UK’s most advanced glass recycling centre at Newhouse, Lanarkshire.
The ‘next generation’ facility, strategically adjacent to the M8 motorway, will be one of the most advanced glass recycling plants in Europe, capable of recycling 200,000 tonnes of glass per year – 150% of all glass packaging currently collected in Scotland.
The Newhouse recycling centre will drive Scotland’s circular economy, reduce reliance on imported materials for whisky and beverage bottles, and ensure 100% of Scottish packaging glass is fit for use by the burgeoning Scotch whisky and drinks sectors. Recycling glass from 17 Scottish local authorities, the facility will recover up to 97% of input materials, importantly achieving up to 99% product purity, exceeding the quality requirements for a Scotch sector focused on high-end product packaging.
Creating 30 full-time jobs, the 70,000 Sq Ft facility on a 7 hectare site will also boost government warm homes objectives through a partnership with insulation provider, Superglass in Stirling. A further strategic partnership is set to be announced shortly.
Featuring advanced recycling technology from across the globe, the centre will encompass some 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.
The latest investment will retain the firms position as Scotland’s leading glass recycler and recognises the shifting nature of glass recycling, offering the ability to colour sort mixed glass back to original streams for a high quality recyclate, rejecting material contamination.
Equipment for the new facility at Newhouse will start to be installed this month, with production due to commence in summer and full operation by Autumn this year.
Ian McAulay, Chief Executive, Viridor, said:
“Building on our £100m network of Scottish recycling-led infrastructure, this latest investment, bringing the UK’s most advanced glass recycling centre home to the central belt, places Scotland at the leading edge of global glass recycling. Part of a £500m Scottish investment strategy to translate zero waste policy into practice, the centre will drive sustainability for the Scotch whisky and associated sectors at the heart of Scotland’s global position.
“A vital key in unlocking Scottish Government circular economy policy, this latest investment will not only help drive the level and quality of glass recycling across the country, but will be a real boost for a Lanarkshire economy fast becoming an important base for Scotland’s green sectors.”
Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth John Swinney said:
“This multi-million pound investment by Viridor will bring 30-full time jobs to the area, and is further evidence of the strength that exists within Scotland’s manufacturing sector and wider economy.
“Scotland has long been recognised as being at the forefront of technological and environmental innovation, and this state-of-the-art recycling centre will provide high quality material to businesses, while helping towards our ambition of becoming a zero waste nation.
“Growth in the Scottish economy has increased and strengthened over the last 18 months, and this government will continue its work to support manufacturing in Scotland in order to create sustainable economic growth.”
The Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael, said:
“This announcement is good news for Scotland’s economy. Locating the UK’s most advanced glass recycling centre in Newhouse reflects the great skills of the workforce in Lanarkshire.
“Centres such as this will help Scotland fulfil its enormous green energy potential ensuring that we are at the centre of the UK's low carbon economy. It also shows the great benefits and sustainable future that recycling provides for our world class industries like Scotch Whisky"
Julie Hesketh-Laird, Scotch Whisky Association director of operational and technical affairs, said:
“The Scotch Whisky industry has ambitious green targets as part of its far-reaching Environmental Strategy. By 2020 distillers are committed to 40% of their product packaging being made from recycled materials. Glass accounts for the vast majority of the packaging of Scotch and we welcome supply chain innovation which advances glass recycling.”
Calum MacDonald, Director of Operations, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, added:
“This further investment by one of the UK’s leaders in recycling and resource management is a welcome sign of confidence in Scotland’s green economy. Viridor’s strong commitment to compliance demonstrates that economic growth goes hand in hand with environmental sustainability, supporting the vision of a circular economy.”
Iain Gulland, Director, Zero Waste Scotland, said:
“I welcome this major strategic investment in the Newhouse plant by Viridor, which will bring best-in-class recycling technology to Scotland, helping create jobs directly and further down the supply chain. Zero Waste Scotland has worked to stimulate action to develop the circular economy for glass, including through support for new recycling collections infrastructure. This new investment will help capitalise on the unique opportunity we have here in Scotland for a vibrant, world-leading glass reprocessing industry worth millions to our economy.”
Cllr Helen McKenna, Convener of Environment, North Lanarkshire Council said:
“The announcement of this major investment in world leading technology is great news for Scotland, for Lanarkshire and for the local community. Glass recycling is a great Scottish success story and the location of the UK’s most advanced facility at Newhouse will be fundamental to supporting the work undertaken by North Lanarkshire and other Scottish local authorities.
“Having worked tirelessly to boost Lanarkshire’s green credentials, from community recycling to attracting high tech jobs, it gives me great satisfaction to have secured this investment for the area, and jobs for the local community.”
Frank Roy, Member of Parliament for Motherwell & Wishaw constituency, added:
“Today’s news of a £25m investment by Viridor at Newhouse is a great step forward. Securing the UK’s most advanced glass facility from one of Britain’s leading businesses is a great achievement by North Lanarkshire Council and represents a growing realisation of the benefits the area has to offer. From its location at the heart of Scotland to its excellent infrastructure, transport and skilled workforce, North Lanarkshire is well positioned to capitalise on jobs from high tech industries such as this.”
Michael McMahon, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Uddingston and Bellshill constituency, said:
“Attracting investment from leading British businesses such as Viridor is great news, highlighting the benefit of North Lanarkshire Council’s partnership approach. Coming on the back of Viridor’s relocation to Eurocentral, this further investment in Britain’s most advanced glass recycling facility is another important step in securing economic growth, developing vital infrastructure, generating jobs and developing our local skills base.”
Scottish National Party MSP for Central Scotland, Richard Lyle, said:
“Scotland’s Government has an ambitious programme aimed at becoming one of the most resource efficient nations in Europe. That ambition for a strong, modern, sustainable economy is what is behind major investment decisions by leading companies such as Viridor. Leading the UK with advanced infrastructure is great news. It’s a boost to Scotch whisky and beverage sectors across central Scotland and, of course, means new jobs, skills and opportunities for local people. It is developments like these that help Scotland to flourish and make it a fantastic place to work, live and invest.”