Could ‘glass imploder’ solve Argyll’s recycling problems?

Bottles are piled up on Monday at the recycling point in Tesco car park in Oban.
The bulk of goods put out for recycling across Argyll goes into the recycling process, except for a small amount of contaminated items.

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Calls have been made for Argyll and Bute’s glass recycling problems to be solved – by shrinking bottles into small pieces of glass.

Councillor Roddy McCuish has highlighted the use of a ‘glass imploder’ which is used on the island of Coll, saying it could make for a useful saving for the authority.

Clarity has also been sought on whether waste could be used to generate energy in Argyll and Bute as part of the council’s waste management strategy.

The discussion took place at the meeting of the authority’s environment, development and infrastructure committee.

Councillor Jean Moffat, who represents the Isle of Bute ward, said: ‘We have a horrendous problem on the island with glass bottles and trying to get them all cleared away.

‘I still have bottles in the house that I cannot take to a glass bank and I haven’t got space for them.

‘Many European countries have these great big units that you throw your bottles into at supermarkets. Is there anything coming forward on that?’

Jim Smith, the council’s roads and amenity services manager, directed Councillor Moffat to a report which stated that the Scottish Government’s Deposit Return Scheme for single use containers had been delayed until July 22.

Councillor McCuish then said: ‘On the island of Coll, they have something called a ‘glass imploder’ in which you put bottles of all colours and they come out as smaller balls of glass.

‘We should see what they are doing there. It could be a saving for the council if community groups can get them on smaller islands.’

Committee chair Councillor Robin Currie responded: ‘That sounds very interesting – I think we will follow that one up.’

Prior to that discussion, Councillor McCuish had asked regarding the waste management strategy: ‘We have had discussions on this many times – are you lobbying the Scottish Government for any sort of dispensation?

‘Given the number of islands we have, are we looking at setting up our own waste recycling plant in Argyll?

‘Perhaps we could also import waste? In Sweden, one of the most environmentally friendly countries in the world, they use incinerators widely to power their towns and cities.’

Mr Smith replied: ‘These are two really good points. In terms of seeing any form of derogation, that is not the approach we are taking.

‘Our approach is to seek a fully-funded solution and any additional costs will be met. That would be our preference.

‘It would take a significant tonnage of material to make incinerators financially viable. It is not something that should be ruled out just now necessarily, but those plants cost £200 million for full blown energy.

‘What we are likely to see going forward is waste transfer, where partially processed material goes off site to an energy facility.

‘It is most likely to be for electricity generation outside Argyll and Bute rather than in it.

‘There is the potential for a joint approach and we have discussions ongoing with neighbouring authorities.’