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Smash and Grab – Not Just For Criminals!

September 24, 2007 at 2:11 pm

Disposing of used glass bottles has always been an expensive and problematical matter for pubs and restaurants. They account for a large percentage of a pub or restaurant’s waste, and the licensed trade as a whole generates 600,000 tonnes of glass or around two billion bottles each year, much of which has previously ended up in landfill sites.

Now, thanks to the innovative firm Smash and Grab, the problem may have been solved. Their Little Smasher machine, which they have been developing for two years, looks as if it will be the answer to the prayers of green minded restaurateurs and publicans alike.

This top-loading machine is smaller than a dishwasher, is easy to use and fits neatly besides the crates and bins. It will take between fifteen and twenty bottles at a time and smash them in less than six seconds, reducing the volume of glass by 80%. Smash and Grab’s own collection team then collects the crushed glass at a time to suit the licensee. A £50,000 grant has recently been awarded which will be used by Smash and Grab to purchase their own collection vehicle rather than using the two hired trucks currently in operation.

At the moment, the glass collected is used for road fill and aggregate (none is sent to landfill) but the company hopes to interest glass reprocessors in recycling the material into new bottles, bringing great savings in the quarrying of raw materials. For each tonne of recycled glass used, 1.2 tonnes of silica and lime is saved. For this to be possible, the company will have to collect at least 2500 tonnes a year. Currently 800 tonnes a year is collected, which is in itself an encouraging fourfold increase in just twelve months.

The development of the Little Smasher has been made possible by advice on franchising, legal matters and marketing through the Enhance programme, in conjunction with the London Development Agency, London Remade and the London Community Recycling Network. Kate Nelson, the Senior Project Manager for London Remade, said: “Smash & Grab is an innovative company making a big impact on recycling within the hospitality sector… The Little Smasher is sure to be welcomed with open arms into many more licensed retail establishments. This will stop huge amounts of glass from being sent to landfill.”

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