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NRAs 2015 Innovation – Equipment: Ekko glass crusher

The Ekko Glass Crusher is a self-contained mains powered product designed to crush empty glass bottles into small and easily recycled cullet.

It was created in collaboration with the glass recycling industry, so the design combines the space and safety requirements of the hospitality sector with the glass specification and contamination requirements of processors and recyclers.

Uniquely, the Crusher produces ‘super cullet’ which can be used in optical sorting, making it suitable for closed loop glass remelt. The machine forms part of a business model designed to reduce glass storage space, logistics related CO2 and congestion by up to 80%. It is now being used by high-profile names in the hospitality and waste management sectors.

“This company has identified a clear gap in the market. It has enabled users of its service to reduce their volume of material produced by 80% with a very high quality of recyclable material output.”

Judges’ comment                                  

After significant R&D, Ekko Waste Solutions launched the Crusher in August 2014 and it was subsequently shown at RWM. Since then, the first batch of 65 units has been distributed to hotels, bars and clubs throughout the UK. The super cullet produced by these machines has been analysed by Viridor, where it was found that 93.8% of the glass could be optically separated into individual colours and used in glass remelt. As a result, Viridor now accepts this cullet at its depots across the UK.

Ekko glass crusher

The hospitality sector generates significant volumes of glass waste but has little or no private storage space for bins, and problems can be caused by noisy collection rounds and road congestion caused by daily collections.

Ekko aimed to have several key differentiators:

  • To plan ahead of anticipated changes to glass legislation
  • To focus on the hospitality sector and its need to comply with any legislation  
  • Developing a wider, and better connected, supply chain
  • Maximising the compaction ratio and processing speed of glass processing
  • Creating a consistent cullet size to maximise the end price per tonne paid by glass processors

Once crushed, the waste cullet is delivered into removable high-volume containers in the base of the unit. Each unit holds the equivalent of a 140-litre wheelie bin, resulting in associated savings in bin lifts, vehicle movement and fuel savings.     

 

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