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Scottish Manufacturer Uses Recycled Glass in a Million Blocks

06 May 2008

Scottish builders are being helped to meet their environmental targets through the collaboration of two companies in Bonnyrigg, just south of Edinburgh. In just 18 months one million breeze blocks have been produced by Brand and Rae using recycled glass from the Viridor plant next door to replace some of the sand that would otherwise have been used. Importantly this has helped a number of builders to satisfy local authorities' requirements for construction projects to use ten per cent recycled materials, as required by the Scottish Parliament. The crushed glass, from Viridor's Bonnyrigg facility resembles coarse sand. Chemically, the composition is the same as that of the silica sand primary aggregate that it replaces. However it is the result of crushing, grading and screening used poor grade container glass rather than a product of one of Scotland's hard rock quarries. Jamie McBride, operations manager of Viridor Glass Recycling said: "With one of Brand and Rae's factories adjacent to our site we are really helping to make a big difference to the carbon footprint of this essential building material. Together we are saving on energy, transport, and emissions, and by using this material there is less damage to the countryside through quarrying." At present the crushed glass replaces some 30 per cent of the primary aggregate content of the blocks. This helps to provide better weather resistance, a modest cost saving and a slight saving in the amount of concrete needed, when compared with building using conventional blocks. There is no difference in appearance between conventional blocks and those incorporating the glass recyclate, and they are equally suitable for use in housing and commercial premises. Gary Bell, managing director of Brand and Rae says: "We have been taking recycled glass aggregate from Viridor for two years. Having made a million blocks with it, we can confirm that it is an excellent material for our purpose and we would certainly be please to increase our tonnage in future. The glass recyclate is popular with us and the blocks are popular with environmentally aware builders who are our customers." Viridor Waste Management is among the UK's leading recycling and waste management companies. It is owned by the Pennon Group, a major UK plc with assets of over £2.3 billion. Each year Viridor manages over nine million tonnes of wastes and recycles over a million tonnes of material. It operates 73 household waste recycling sites (HWRS), 13 materials recycling facilities (MRF), and over 230 facilities across the UK, processing large volumes of municipal, commercial and industrial wastes. Viridor was the first waste management company in the UK to adopt a comprehensive environmental management system (EMS) across its entire business, gaining accreditation to ISO 14001, the highest international standard, at all its major operational centres, and is now progressing to the adoption of an Integrated Management System accredited to ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety) standards.

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