Bottle sand puts Rosslyn Chapel at forefront of green technology

It is famous worldwide for its starring role in Dan Brown's blockbuster novel turned Hollywood movie The Da Vinci Code starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou.

Rosslyn Chapel

But now 15th century Rosslyn Chapel in Roslin, Midlothian, is taking a starring role in the environmental world after buying and gaining exclusive UK distribution rights to a recycling machine that turns glass bottles into sand.

The bottles from its visitors’ café are being turned into sand by the Expleco GLS glass recycling machine. This is then used to mop up dripping candle wax at the chapel’s votive stand where visitors light candles for loved ones or while saying private prayers.

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Bottles are fed into the recycling machine, which costs around £3,500, and are reduced to sand in three to five minutes.

The café staff say the machine is easy to use, eliminates glass recycling costs and guarantees large reductions in waste management expenses.

David Peters, managing director of Saltire Hospitality, which has run the chapel’s café since 2013 , said: “Following a visit from a childhood friend from New Zealand, we were introduced to the range of Expleco glass recycling machines and we were impressed by the benefits to the business and the environment derived from using them.”

Ian Gardner, director of the Rosslyn Chapel Trust set up in 1995 to care for the building, said: “Rosslyn Chapel holds a gold award in the Green Tourism Business Scheme and we are always keen to look at ways to add to our environmental sustainability.”

Mr Gardner added: “It’s great that, through this innovative machine, glass bottles from our coffee shop can now be used to benefit the chapel.”

The Scottish Government is considering responses from a public consultation on plans for a deposit-return scheme for drink containers. This would see customers paying a small surcharge that is refunded when the bottle is returned.