Raise A GLASS To Sustainability!

BottleCycler

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

BottleCycler is Australia’s first fully serviced glass management and recycling company which provides a safer, cleaner, and more profitable way of removing and recycling glass. With a desire to create a world where no glass is wasted, BottleCycler helps the hospitality industry better manage its glass waste by renting out an on-site glass crushing machine and providing recycling services

Author

Thy Douglas

Thy Douglas

School

Monash University

Monash University

Professor

Gitanjali Bedi

Gitanjali Bedi

Innovation

BottleCycler operates on a leasing business model in which hospitality venues can rent a glass crushing machine to aid their disposal of glass containers. Measuring 65cm squared, the BottleCycler machine can be compactly hidden at the front-of-house of any venue allowing employees to safely breakdown bottles on-site. The machine quietly breaks down glass containers into smaller pieces known as cullets and disposes of them into the machine’s inbuilt bin (Bottle Cycler, 2020a). The machine reduces the volume of each bottle by 80%, allowing each 60L bin to store an impressive 300 beer bottles or 200 wine bottles. Once filled, BottleCycler collects the bins and sells the glass to bottle manufacturing companies who transform the cullets into recycled containers ready to be sold. With the ability to crush 80 bottles per minute, BottleCycler provides an Australian-Market first and efficient solution that is better for the environment, safer for staff, and better for businesses.

Raise A GLASS To Sustainability!

Here is a photo of the BottleCycler machine with the inbuilt 60L bin.

Inspiration

In the early 2000s, only 10% of glass disposed of by the Australian hospitality industry was properly recycled as a result of the inefficient collection and cross-contamination of waste (myTOMRA Australia, 2020). As emphasized by BottleCycler’s General Manager George Azzam, “glass is the most challenging waste stream that hospitality venues deal with”. Each year, 50,000 tonnes of glass enters landfills whilst Australians consume 1.36 million tonnes of glass packaging (BottleCycler, 2020d).

With an inherent environmental problem at hand and a missing recycling technology market, in 2002 engineers Hans van Schoonhoven and Hendrik van Reign set out to design and market a product that could help infinitely recycle the overwhelming volume of glass waste produced by the hospitality industry. And so Australia's very first and innovative bottle crushing machine was created - the BottleCycler Machine.


Overall impact

BottleCycler believes that “sustainability is everybody’s business” and strongly aligns its operations to meet the UN’s SDGs (Bottle Cycler, 2020c).

Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth

Whilst chasing profitability, BottleCycler also ensures decent working conditions for all employees, clients and the greater community as the glass crushing machine and collection process reduces the occupational health and safety risks involved with the lifting, sorting through, and disposing of glass products in the hospitality industry. Rather, hospitality workers can maximize their productivity by remaining where they are most valuable to their workplace - at front-of-house serving customers

Goal 12 - Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns

According to Mr. Azzam, BottleCycler operates “in a circular economy which reuses something over and over again as glass is the most robust and reusable product and can be infinitely recycled”. Therefore, the machine ensures that every glass bottle disposed of by BottleCycler clients will be recycled into a new bottle. This creates a sustainable pattern of production and consumption in the hospitality industry.

Goal 13 – Climate Action

To date, BottleCycler has recycled 98% of all collected classes (Bottle Cycler, 2020c). This astounding quantity greatly reduces the number of carbon emissions, energy, and natural resources required to create new glass and largely reduces the company’s carbon footprint.


Business benefit

Since 2002, BottleCycler has evidenced extensive economic growth by expanding its operations across 4 states, with 800 clients, 2000 machines, 15 employees, external contractors, and a partnership with Resource Management Company TOMRA (BottleCycler, 2019).

BottleCycler further ensures sustained growth by maintaining a circular economy. In an interview, Mr. Azzam states that “even though companies ask to buy our glass to turn it into the sand, we decline because the circle ends there. Once the glass is processed into the sand it can no longer be recycled. Our preference at BottleCycler is to ensure that the glass is re-used”. Unlike other competitors who sell their cullets to be remanufactured into alternative products, by infinitely recycling what generates the most economic value for the company - the glass - BottleCycler maximizes their profits and uniquely generates economic value for the greater economy and growing market.

Additionally, the BottleCycler machine provides a solution to the problem of material contamination. Mr. Azzam explains that “because the glass is crushed on-site, there is minimal contamination of glass cullets. This results in a very good quality of glass in terms of its ability to be recycled”. Evidently, Bottle Cycler’s crushing process increases the glass cullet’s per payload efficiency by 60% allowing the business to continually invest in additional sustainable endeavors (BottleCycler, 2020c).


Social and environmental benefit

Environmental Impact

Presently, BottleCycler has recycled 27 million kilograms of glass (BottleCycler, 2020b). Given that the machine’s crushing mechanism can store 5 times the amount of glass bottles in one 60L bin, fewer collection trucks are required to transport the cullets to a recycling plant. Therefore, Bottle Cycler's unique ability to pre-crushing the bottles on-site maximizes bin space, reduces their ecological footprint, and reduces the amount of petrol required and Co2 emissions emitted from the transportation process.

Furthermore, Mr. Azzam highlights that “the process of creating a bottle from recycled glass uses 75% less energy than creating a glass bottle out of raw materials”. This is large to the fact that recycled glass requires a lower production temperature which in turn preserves energy and oil. (BottleCycler, 2020a). As a result, every tonne of glass BottleCycler recycles prevents 225kg of Co2 from being emitted into the atmosphere and prevents the extraction of 1.1 tonnes of raw material (BottleCycler, 2020d). Therefore, the BottleCycler machine encourages the hospitality industry to practice sustainable management and consumption of natural resources and proactively take action against climate change.


Social Impact

BottleCycler’s aim for infinite recycling allows for consistent stimulation of the local economy via the creation of jobs along the supply chain including employment recycling plants, bin collections, manufacturing, and maintenance of the machines. “If the glass goes to landfill it ends there. The recycling of glass creates jobs. It is not only the glass that continues to go round but also the economy and society” explains Mr. Azzam. Interestingly, as the Australian Government begins to increase legislation regarding the recycling and disposal of materials such as glass Mr. Azzam predicts the number of machines and clients over the next few years will grow 20-fold, resulting in an increase in employment opportunities and social well-being for the local community.


Furthermore, BottleCycler's machine uniquely and quietly crushes the glass bottles at the front-of-house at a noise level of 68 decibels. In comparison to the typical volume of human speech of 60-78decibels, the BottleCycler machine innovatively overcomes the social problem of noise pollution in the hospitality and recycling industry (BottleCycler, 2020a).


Without a doubt, the future economic, environmental and social benefits of BottleCycler's innovative machine will continue to reap! So let's all raise a GLASS to sustainability!


References

BottleCycler. (2019.) Introducing BottleCycler. The Future of Glass Recycling. BottleCycler. https://bottlecycler.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/BC_info_brochure_2020.pdf


BottleCycler. (2020b). About BottleCycler. Retrieved from https://bottlecycler.com/about/


BottleCycler. (2020c) BottleCycler Corporate Profile. BottleCycler. https://bottlecycler.com/about/#our-story


BottleCycler [@bottlecycler]. (2020d, November 10). Fun (horrifying) fact! Aussies consume 1.36 million tonnes of glass packaging per year. Let’s preserve energy by stopping this HUGE [Image attached]. [Instagram]. Retrieved February 2, 2021, from https://www.instagram.com/p/CHZX0I7DEAk/


BottleCycler. (2020a) Understanding Container Refund Schemes for the Hospitality Industry. BottleCycler. https://bottlecycler.com/about/#our-story


my Tora Australia. (2020, August 17). BottleCycler | The Future of Glass Recycling. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ4WNyBn118&feature=youtu.be



Interview

George Azzam, General Manager

Photo of interviewee

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BottleCycler

BottleCycler

Melbourne, Victoria, AU

Business Website: https://bottlecycler.com/

Year Founded: 2002

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

BottleCycler is Australia’s first fully serviced glass management and recycling company which provides a safer, cleaner, and more profitable way of removing and recycling glass. With a desire to create a world where no glass is wasted, BottleCycler helps the hospitality industry better manage their glass waste by renting out an on-site glass crushing machine and providing recycling services.