The Ekko Vision.
From Innovation to Commercialisation to Participation!
Ekko Waste Solutions was founded on a vision. To create a closed loop circular glass economy using glass crushers that produced processor friendly crushed glass. The benefits were obvious but the reality was not as simple. Glass crushers are not a new idea, originally they were designed for the marine market and their purpose was to crush glass bottles into the smallest possible pieces to reduce storage space. The machines were large, expensive, noisy, unreliable and frightening to use. The glass cullet produced was closer to sand than recyclable cullet and was generally landfilled or used in aggregate applications.
Some companies took the "Glass crushing" concept and tried to apply it to the leisure and hospitality markets, where the idea of reducing storage space and waste collections were warmly received. Unfortunately the glass crushing machines were ill suited to this new environment and existing waste companies did not want to reduce their collections by 80% and lose valuable revenue. The glass processors were also against this method of glass waste management as historically the material produced had been too small to recycle and contaminated glass stocks. It was a false dawn!
The concept, however was a good one and Ekko Waste Solutions was founded with a clear vision. To make it a reality!
It was clear from the outset that the concept required a new and innovative approach. The Directors of Ekko decided to look at glass waste management in its entirety and approach it from a new and different perspective.
The Glass Crusher
For the glass crushing concept to work the resulting glass pieces had to be large enough for the glass processors to separate it by colour and small enough to give a worthwhile reduction in glass volume. Ekko Waste Solutions worked in close collaboration with the glass recycling industry to perfect the size of the glass pieces. “Supercullet”
Ekko were also aware that the equipment needed to be ergonomically designed to ensure compatibility with the target sectors and positive interaction with the end user. Having surveyed the end user Ekko were aware that most machines are used by multiple people with varying ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.
We were also aware that some of the glass crushers on the market did not fully meet modern Health & Safety guidelines, working closely with Health and Safety consultants we ensured that the Ekko Glass Crusher complied with the essential requirements of European health, safety and environmental protection legislation and the relevant product directives.
We then worked with the best engineers in order to develop the Ekko Glass Crushing machine . The current machine is 8th generation and is the result of many years and 50,000 tonnes of evaluation, all of which was carried out “live” in outlet in a commercial setting.
The Ekko Glass Collection
At the beginning of our innovation journey, we discovered that for a variety of reasons traditional waste management companies were not willing to collect crushed glass as it reduced their valuable revenue. We decided to set up our own trade waste glass collection service and applied the same methodology to glass collections as we had to glass crushing equipment. The first thing we looked at was the types of refuse vehicles that were available, we could not find a vehicle that was fit for purpose so we decided to develop our own vehicle and custom build the ideal glass collection truck.This vehicle has a lightweight chassis, is 70% smaller than standard refuse vehicles, meets Euro6 emission levels and can access tight lanes and service areas. When carrying crushed glass our trucks reduce congestion and logistics related pollution by 80%
Since 2010 we have consistently invented and reinvented our equipment and systems building the ultimate glass waste management model. This innovative approach has allowed us to run Ekko Waste Solutions as a commercial business organisation that has operated profitably despite large Research & Development costs. We have successfully proven our equipment and systems and created a genuine closed loop circular economy in Scotland. This has been documented by Zero Waste Scotland and recognised by Scottish Enterprise, ECCI, The Rushlights Awards, The National Recycling Awards and The RBS/Business Insider awards for Product Development and Resource Management.
Commercialisation to Participation
We have proven our Ekko Glass Crushing equipment and Ekko Glass recycling systems in the United Kingdom and created a circular economy. Our vision is now to replicate The Ekko Glass recycling system in relevant markets across the world and share the benefits both environmentally and financially.
The Deposit Return Scheme
Through our ability to collect both crushed and unbroken bottles from a range of on-trade and off-trade outlets our systems are ideal for the Deposit Return Scheme which is being introduced into Scotland August 2023.