A Leeds-based manufacturer of glass units for windows which feature integrated blinds has saved 1,000 tonnes of post-consumer waste glass from landfill in two years, and instead diverted it into the production of new glass in a scheme which has provided funding of more than £60,000 for local environmental and community schemes.

Morley Glass, which employs 110 people at its factory, is one of Europe’s biggest manufacturers of double glazed units that have built-in Venetian or pleated blinds, producing an average of 16,000 units every month. These are sold to window installers across the UK.

In 2020, the company invested in reducing its own process waste and providing a post-consumer glass recycling service to customers by installing machinery that could crush waste glass into what is known as cullet. This can be fed directly into the manufacture of new glass which not only reduces needless landfill waste, but it also cuts the volumes of virgin raw materials needed to make glass and saves energy as turning cullet into new glass requires less energy.

The scheme, which is run in conjunction with international glass manufacturer Saint-Gobain Glass, who make window and door glass at their factory in Eggborough near Selby, is continuously audited. This means Morley Glass can see exactly how much waste glass is being collected and the benefits it delivers.

The data shows that in two years, the amount of glass cullet produced by Morley Glass is equivalent to the weight of 150 elephants, saving around 325,000kg of CO2, as every tonne of glass cullet prevents 300kg going into the atmosphere. Over 920,000kg of sand, the main raw material for glass, has also been saved and the overall energy saving to Saint-Gobain Glass is calculated at 541 ‘energy years’ – that is the energy used by an average UK household in 12 months.

In addition to saving resources and energy, the recycling scheme has another important benefit for communities in West Yorkshire. All the money raised by the sale of the recycled glass material to Saint-Gobain Glass goes into a fund set up by Morley Glass called GreenVision.

This offers £500 one-off grants to charities, individuals and community groups who are located in West Yorkshire and dedicated to providing environmental or social improvements in their local area

The type of initiatives that GreenVision can support is extremely diverse. Amongst those who have benefited to date is Roundhay School, who used their grant to set up a system for collecting school uniforms that children have outgrown, so that parents of children newly transferring to the school can take anything they need free of charge. And at Longroyde School in Brighouse, teachers accessed GreenVision funding to support a project for the children to create and cultivate green spaces as part of an ‘Easter Garden Project’

Ian Short, managing director said: “What started out as a simple business improvement idea has snowballed into an initiative that is delivering far-reaching benefits at a time when environmental and social sustainability have become priorities. We are thrilled to reach our 1,000 tonne milestone in just two years, which clearly demonstrates how popular the recycling service is with our customers who can save money on waste disposal costs too.

“And of course, the more waste glass we are able to collect and process, the more support we can provide through GreenVision to local people and groups who are giving up their time to improve their local environment or deliver social benefits. Applying for a grant is quick and easy, so if this is you, please go to our website and submit a GreenVision application today!”