Features, Magazine, News

BottleCycler shakes up glass recycling in hospitality

glass recycling

The Grand Hotel Warrandyte is a staff comes first venue. Seeing the team lift three-foot high garbage bins full of bottles into a dump master was an “accident waiting to happen” says Peter Appleby, General Manager.

So, when he was introduced to the BottleCycler machine it was a “no brainer” to have one installed. Six months later and the award-winning pub is benefitting from more than improved occupational health and safety outcomes.

“Staff safety has improved without the need to be lifting heavy bottle bins into dump masters, eliminating the chance of injury,” Peter says. “But we have also reduced our co-mingled collections by 50 per cent, which has had a great impact on our bottom line with reduced waste costs from our removal company.”

In fact, George Azzam, General Manager of BottleCycler says The Grand Warrandyte has recycled just over 8000 kilograms of glass – the equivalent to saving five tonnes of carbon dioxide, 19,500 litres of water and a little more 19 cubic metres of landfill diverted – since introducing a BottleCycler machine.

He says it’s a perfect example of the BottleCycler being better for business, people and the planet.

A Melbourne invention, the BottleCycler was created about 20 years ago by a local engineer who saw an opportunity to make a difference. It can crush about 80 bottles a minute and store up to 300 crushed bottles.

The crushed glass is dispersed into a bin which sits inside a stainless-steel cabinet. Sensors detect when the bin is full, and staff simply attach a handle to the bin and wheel it outside to be collected by BottleCycler. A new empty bin goes inside the cabinet and the process starts again.

For two and three-storey venues, such as a rooftop bar, there is the option of a chute machine. The crusher is located on the top floor and crushed glass is delivered to the bin in a waste room or basement via a chute.

Once collected, the crushed glass goes to one of two glass recycling plants in Melbourne where it is processed into cullet and used to produce new bottles.

George says that at The Grand Warrandyte, staff previously put empty bottles in tubs underneath the bar. At least three of four times a shift someone would have to leave the bar to take the tubs to the bins outside, lift them and tip them.

“It would be noisy, dirty, dangerous and heavy,” George says. “Now they take the empty bottles straight from the bar and put them in the machine. Instead of having to go out the back three or four times a shift, staff can do it once at the end of the night.

“From a safety point of view, they don’t have to handle the glass at all.”

At a time when many hospitality venues are struggling to find staff, the BottleCycler is also helping businesses be more efficient, allowing staff to be behind the bar serving customers. 

“We currently have one machine discreetly placed behind our main bar,” says Peter. “Staff put an empty bottle into the machine and back to serving customers they go. It’s as simple as that.

“We fill 18, 60-litre bins a fortnight, which hold 45 kilograms of crushed glass. As a community conscious venue, this is just another way we can do our bit to reduce landfill and emissions.

“Our customers are very supportive and inquisitive of the machine and once it’s explained they are grateful for our commitment to the environment.”

glass recyclingGeorge says because the glass is being collected as a single waste stream, businesses are aware of exactly how much glass they are recycling and the benefits that go with it, which is becoming more important for environmental, social, and corporate governance outcomes.

On the BottleCycler portal customers can see their statistics in relation to how many bins have been collected, glass volumes in kilograms, how much carbon dioxide emissions have been stopped, and how many cubic metres of landfill they’ve saved. They can generate reports with their data and upload it directly to their social media accounts.

There are more than 1000 BottleCycler machines in operation throughout Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia in pubs, premium dining restaurants and larger venues including Marvel Stadium, Flemington Racecourse and Star Casinos. 

The machines are also popular with events including the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix and the Australian Open tennis tournament.

George says anyone who has glass waste would benefit from a BottleCycler.

“Some customers will come to us because they’re putting all their glass in general waste, and they want to do something better from a sustainability and environmental view.

“Other customers say ‘my neighbours are complaining because every time we go out and we empty glass bins at one, two or three in the morning the clunking and clanging of bottles is driving them crazy and causing us issues with our liquor licensing’. They put in a BottleCycler machine to eliminate the need to tip glass at all.

“We’ve got other customers who have had a staff member cut themselves on glass, or hurt their back, picking up bins and they need to reduce their OH&S risk. Putting in a BottleCycler is about efficiencies. It keeps staff behind the bar, improving OH&S risks and is better for the environment.”

BottleCycler has vast knowledge of working in Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) markets and facilitating refunds for customers with a BottleCycler machine is all part of the service for customers.

In Queensland, bar code scanners are built into the BottleCycler to identify eligible and ineligible containers as they are crushed. A built-in modem collects and sends data to a server and the customer automatically gets a 10 cent refund for every eligible container. In New South Wales, refunds are based on weight and an Eligible Container Factor. George says BottleCycler is working with the NSW Environment Protection Authority to increase the rebate.

A CDS scheme will be introduced in Victoria in 2023 and BottleCycler is working out how that will work in relation to the bottle crushing machine.

“The biggest benefit of BottleCycler machines in CDS markets is that venues don’t have to separate container types,” George says. “Our machines take everything whether it’s a wine bottle, spirit bottle or stubby. 

“Venues don’t have to pay twice to remove glass from their venue. From an efficiency point of view and ease of business, everything goes through the machine, we take care of the rest.”

The BottleCycler works on a rental model. For a monthly fee the machine is serviced and maintained regularly. If it breaks it will be repaired on site. If it can’t be fixed on site a replacement machine will be brought in. A per bin collection fee is dependent on a venue’s volume and pick-up  schedule.  

For more information, visit: www.bottlecycler.com

BottleCycler is offering an exclusive two-month free trial for anyone who inquires about a machine and mentions Waste Management Review.

Previous ArticleNext Article