Category Archives: Recycling

Resource Management Association Scotland (RMAS) Site visit to Optimum Eco Group – Restructa Ltd. and CCL (North) Ltd.

Resource Management Association Scotland (RMAS) Site visit to Optimum Eco Group – Restructa Ltd. and CCL (North) Ltd.

We had the pleasure of taking part in the RMAS site visit to Optimum Eco Group, sites Restructa Ltd. and CCL (North) Ltd, both in Irvine.

After a brief catch up over tea/ coffee and pastries, we were spilt into groups and taken by bus to the first site, CCL (North) Ltd. Established in 2000, CCL is one of the UK’s leading specialists for secure data destruction, IT asset disposal and WEEE recycling. Here we were shown around the plant and the process from the items arriving, to them being stripped down and recovered or fixed and reused. There is a museum section where some of the rarer finds are kept and displayed and I was delighted to see a ZX Spectrum computer on show, which took me back to my own childhood memories of my first ever console.

The ’hands-on’ approach with the waste demonstrates incredible attention to detail and ensures every part that could be recovered or reused is able to be utilised elsewhere. I found the vape dismantling particularly interesting as I am seeing more and more discarded vapes everywhere I go. These were stripped down, batteries removed, and plastic sleeves separated to try and make use of as many parts of the vape as possible. This was done by hand and under a fume cupboard.

The handling of IT equipment and other data sensitive equipment was very well thought through to maintain sensitivity and security throughout for the client. We were able to see the process of shredding, and the vast difference from the assets that went into the shredder compared to what came out at the other side.

We were then taken to Restructa which was formed in 2005 in response to the UK Government’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive.

It focuses on the repair, reuse and recycling of display equipment from its 25,000sq ft facility, handling more than 1000 TVs every day. Restructa. has developed into a leading recycling and waste management provider.

The televisions and monitors arrive and are checked to see what is wrong with them to segregate those repairable from those requiring recycling. We learned that out of 650,00 televisions sent for recycle each year, 37,000 tv’s are repaired and go on to have an extended life by around 5 to 6 years and are used by those who need them most.

At both sites we saw their modern apprentices hard at work and learning new skill sets. It was very reassuring to hear that approximately 70% of apprentices go on to progress within the company.

One fascinating thing about our visit was being shown what happens to the old TV screens, the glass is processed on site and made into garden decorative pebbles and chips, that has an opaque quality and let’s light shine through meaning the old TV screens become part of garden décor, water features and I was given some myself which I look forward to adding to my plant pot.

The other incredible piece of technology we were shown was the POPs (Persistent organic pollutants) testing system that Optimum Eco Group have developed, which tells you if a television backing can be recycled or not, thus increasing recyclable material. The manufacturing industry has no current responsibility to tell us what chemicals are in the items they produce, meaning they are less likely to consider the cradle to grave concept and how easy their product is to be recycled at end-of-life and this responsibility now falls to the waste industry to deal with.  

Our visit gave me lots of food for thought and great chat over lunch and it was so nice to see an organisation, not only doing what they should, but going above and beyond showing best practice and actively looking for the next best thing. How great it would be if everyone thought so carefully about their impact on the environment and what they can do better. RMAS does a great job of encouraging knowledge sharing, networking and engagement as well as encouraging innovation.

RMAS is a not-for-profit, non-political membership organisation for micro, small and medium sized resource management companies operating in Scotland. They actively represent and support companies who are operating across the length and breadth of Scotland. RMAS ensure members are well informed and that priority issues, risks, and opportunities are communicated, and represented effectively to Government, its various agencies, the commercial sector and the public.

I am grateful to RMAS and Optimum Eco Group for arranging the day and provoking the conversation that followed as a result. A truly informative site visit and lunch.

LitterID Service

Albion is delighted to launch our new “LitterID” service for local authorities in the UK.

Using the latest technology, developed in collaboration with leading universities in the UK, litter can be tested and DNA identified. The test will take place at a lab near our office and takes less than 5 minutes to be completed. Once the test result is available the result is uploaded into our computer system using the latest AI technology to identify the litter culprit. In independent tests of the technology we have achieved an accuracy of 99.9%.

The Benefits to Councils

  • Millions of pounds are spent by councils each year clearing and lifting litter – many believe this money could be better spent on other services.
  • Litter results in degradation of public areas.
  • Littering is a serious blight on our landscape and has a detrimental effect on our tourism industry.
  • The law is clear – under Section 87 EPA 1990 – Littering is a criminal offence, throwing down or dropping an item in any public open space is classed as littering. If a person is found guilty of the offence they can be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £80 or could potentially be prosecuted and risk a fine of up to £2,500.
  • This new technology allows councils to get serious about litter and provide a proper deterrent to littering.

Examples of typical use may be –

  • Officers frequent local pubs and sample and analyse cigarette butts outside pubs – frequently there will be multiple butts discarded so for example 20 butts would generate £1,600 for a few hours work
  • After large events or during summer weather, when for example lots of people visit our lovely beaches but simply leave or discard their litter – councils can gear up with extra officers.  Revenue potential can run into tens of thousands of pounds
  • An interesting option is when councils collect roadside litter, the waste collected can be taken back to a central location, tested and offenders identified! This would require some investment from councils but the testing is so quick and easy that one officer can test an item ever minute resulting in a fine rate of £4,800.

The Process

Albion will provide the following service to local authorities who wish to use this innovative technology –

Provision of sampling and test kits for your officers.

In person training for your officers which will include training on sampling and testing.

In person training for staff who will be authorised to use the AI powered data base to identify offenders and issue fixed penalty notices.

Albion believe this technology will be a game changer for addressing the serious blight of littering in the UK. There will be no hiding place for people who litter. Councils will need to work out policies regarding how this can be implemented. For example serial offenders may find they receive multiple fines but ultimately – if you don’t want a fine – don’t litter – it’s easy!

For further information and costs of this new service in the UK please do not hesitate to contact:

For any enquiries outwith the UK we are setting up a franchise system so please get in touch, and we can also discuss this option.

Useful Links to Support this:

Litter and fly tipping legislation | Zero Waste Scotland

Who is responsible for litter and fly-tipping? | Zero Waste Scotland

Keep Scotland Beautiful

Responsibilities | Community Litter Hub (

Disposable Vapes – A health hazard in more ways than one!

The popularity of disposable vapes / e-cigarettes in the UK has risen significantly over the past few years, with approximately 168 million disposable vapes purchased each year in the UK. The new phenomenon is alarmingly dangerous for both public health and environmental damage. Disposable vapes contain plastic, stainless steel, aluminium and a lithium battery and are categorised as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), meaning they should be recycled at Household Waste Recycling Centres, or returned to shops they are bought from. Unfortunately, around 1.3 million disposable vapes are thrown way each week, ending up either on the streets or if disposed, in landfill or incinerated. The lithium battery contained within these products is a precious, and finite, resource, which we need to be recovering and recycling. There is an additional risk of fire when disposable vapes are placed in the residual or household recycling, as lithium-ion batteries can explode if damaged while being processed. Not only is the use and subsequent incorrect disposal of these products wasting valuable resource, but it is also causing an increased risk of fires in the waste and recycling sector. This causes further damage to the environment and increased risk of injury for workers at waste and recycling facilities. So, what is the solution?

Recent headlines have discussed some retailers banning the sale of disposable vapes, due to concerns of their impact on public and environmental health. There may be good intentions behind this, however disposable vapes will still be readily available for purchase from many retailers.

So where does producer responsibility come into force to tackle the ongoing waste issues these products are causing?

Is it acceptable to use finite resources in millions of disposable products?

Should governments look to ban these disposable products or could more be done to apply extended producer responsibility to these products, so that producers of these products are held responsible for the correct and safe disposal of them, and the public have a financial incentive to return used products.

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/3113), aim to encourage the reuse and recycling of these items by placing financial responsibilities on producers and distributors of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) to pay for collection and disposal schemes for WEEE, but with so many disposable vapes ending up on the streets or in landfill, more action is definitely required.

DRS in Scotland – Unintended consequences ahead of the roll-out in 2023?

Following the commissioning of an independent forecast report, Falkirk Council have announced its plan to put a stop to collection of glass at the kerbside once the Scottish Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) has been installed in August 2023. The Report anticipated DRS would cost the Council £234,000. This is mainly a result of a loss in revenue from the sale of glass, cans and plastic. On the other hand, there are suggestions that the Council could be saving £54,000 as residents would be less likely to contaminate their residual bins with DRS material.


Could this be one of the unintended consequences of DRS? In principle DRS is great because of the volume of recyclable bottles that still end up in the residual waste bin at the kerbside or litter on our streets is still too high. Various other countries like Germany and the Netherlands already have DRS provision for single-use plastic bottles and reusable beer bottles, with the latter now also introducing a DRS for aluminium cans at the end of this month. Research has indicated that over 70% of Scots are positive towards DRS, which is going to be essential to make it work. With recent amendments to the scheme for small business being formalised and the introduction of the DRS in Scotland now very much looking to go ahead next summer, Councils may need to look for other income streams.. or savings, as one of the side effects of DRS might be creating a greater awareness of recycling amongst residents, and less recyclate (and revenue) for councils to collect!

Read about Falkirk Council’s plans here:

Albion Environmental’s ‘My Bins App’

In December 2020, we launched our first digital product the ‘SAC MyBins App’. After a year of planning, designing and of course living through a global pandemic, we were finally able to launch our first waste and recycling app in partnership with South Ayrshire Council. SAC MyBins is household waste and recycling app which provides a bin collection calendar, collection reminder notifications, and handy recycling tips and advice all from one app.

Albion Environmental have worked with Local Authorities for a number of years to deliver recycling initiatives and a wide range of waste management projects, so we wanted to design an app which would offer benefits to both council workers and local people. The app aims to reduce the volume of waste going to landfill, and advise householders on the best way to separate their waste.

Since launching in December 20020, the SAC MyBins App has received great feedback both from South Ayrshire Council’s waste management teams, elected members and householders across the town.

“The SAC MyBins app provides a great new, interactive way for residents to keep up to date with waste and recycling services across South Ayrshire.” Councillor Ian Cochrane 

The SAC MyBins App has been a hit with local residents and received positive reviews across the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The SAC MyBins App is currently rated 4.5/5 stars in the App Store and 4.3/5 on the Play Store!

Coming to a council near you?

We have designed the MyBins app for widespread use across all UK local authorities and can customise information to suit your waste and recycling services. Local Authorities can enquire about integrating the MyBins App with their waste management services, and we manage the rest. Head to the MyBins App website for more information and app demos.

MyBins Logo, blue and white square with rubbish bin outline

We are currently taking on new contracts for the MyBins App!

If you’d like to have the MyBins App for your local authority area, enquire via our website, or email: