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Boost for Scotch whisky's green targets

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.

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."

The Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael, said: “Centres such as this show 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.”

Scottish National Party MSP for Central Scotland, Richard Lyle, said: 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.”



29 January 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor