CEO & Managing Director
Krysteline Technologies Ltd, UK
Steve Whettingsteel is founder and CEO of Krysteline Technologies Ltd, developer of specialized engineered solutions for the waste management sector, particularly in the recovery and refinement of glass. In the 1990s Steve was working as a marine engineer on cruise ships, there was an urgent need to change and develop the way glass recycling was being handled onboard. This led to him developing “glass implosion”, the unique, patented technology behind Krysteline’s machinery. Since its formation in 1999 Krysteline has been exporting, with machines being sold around the world. Early customers including; the British Antarctic Survey, a laboratory in the Falkland Islands, super yachts, hotels and pharmaceutical companies. Fast forward 20+ years and thanks to years of ongoing investment in research and development Krysteline has also developed an enviable reputation for high quality refined glass suitable for cullet, cement, foam glass, fertilizers, water filtration and expendable abrasives.
Developing a More Sustainable Glass Recycling System
Contrary to popular believe it’s been consistently proven impossible or practical for all glass to be recycled endlessly in a closed loop cycle as is often claimed. Annually more than 200 million tons of glass is produced globally, less than 40% is re-used for new glass production (remelt or glass wool) due to limited furnace capacity, quality, color disparity, location, and economics, as a result this material ends its life in landfill as daily cover or used as a low value aggregate substitute. Economics has always been a challenge for the recycling industry, balancing high cost of recovery and processing with proportionally low cullet value. Arguably a greater challenge is the long chain CO2 cost of delivering glass to a furnace, in many cases the true cost of CO2 is not appreciated or understood, claimed CO2 benefit of using cullet does not account for its recovery, recycling, transport, nor the disposal to landfill of the glass which is not suitable for remelt. Sustainable low CO2 solutions for 100% of glass entering a recycling facility are required, not just cullet. A recent EU wide announcement to increase recycling rates to 90% is a significant and progressive step, challenging the industry to consider its strategy and drive investment. Innovation has always challenged the recycling industry to evolve, never has there been greater focus on science and innovation to achieve more with less. Innovation and progressive thinking is developing a clearer strategy for glass recycling, one focused on low CO2. We consider how a strategy based on CO2 will evolve a more inclusive recycling system, one focused on maximizing glass recovery and reuse. A system based on glass location, type, quality and market options, while understanding the complexities and market dynamics of establish a fair and logical approach for improving cullet quality and quantity and increasing revenue and investment opportunities of glass historically landfilled or used in low value markets.