Paper Recycling and Confidential Waste Destruction in a Glasgow Movie Studio

The paperless office has been talked about for years but if your office is anything like mine there will be plenty of paper in it including your recycling bin. What I have never thought about until recently was what actually happens after my waste paper is taken away and how paper is recycled.
A couple of months ago I was asked to produce a video for a Motherwell skip hire company and soon after I completed the job they introduced me to another recycler in another town. I guess recycling is like most other industries where everyone knows everyone else. That is why I was sat in an office talking to Stephen Duffy, Managing Director at Highlander International Paper Recyclers talking about making their website video.

Now before I write another word I have to confess I am one of those “geeks” who loves working factories and seeing things made. I have been in factories that make gas mixtures, beer coolers, those chill drinks cabinets you see everywhere, rubber gaskets etc. So you can imagine I was excited at the prospect of seeing the inner workings of a paper recycling centre. That was when Stephen dropped a little bombshell. He pointed to some wording etched into a glass partition wall and said, "That’s the logo of the movie studio that was here before we bought the building.” Obviously I must have looked puzzled because Stephen continued, “Although this was originally a purpose built paper recycling facility, a few years back it was converted into a Film and TV studio. Then we converted it back into a recycling centre”. Well I wasn’t expecting that, nor what Stephen said next, “And some of the studio is still here”.

This was getting just a wee bit surreal. Think about it, I was about to make a video about a paper recycling operation that was operating in a movie/TV studio that still had some of the studio fixtures and fittings! So when the offer came to take a look around you can imagine I wasn’t about to say no.

Here’s the studio ‘Live’ light”, Stephen said as we climbed a set of steel stairs and went through a couple of doors.

He didn’t have to tell me where we were now, it was the studio control room or gallery. To my left I could see out of the L-shaped glass windows that overlooked what would have been the studio floor but was now the temporary resting place of dozens of paper reels. To my right there was an area where TV equipment must have been located and some of the cabling still seemed to be in place.


I followed Stephen through another door and we were in a large space with a couple of sofas and an open balcony that was perched over the former studio floor.
This must have been the “green room” for guests/talent. We went out onto the balcony and looked back at the gallery exterior. Everywhere we had been and everything I was looking at was covered in in a light coating of paper dust and cobwebs. Given some atmospheric lighting it would make the perfect set for a live action episode of Scooby Doo.      



Some of the walls still had areas that had been painted that special shade of green (just green, not green with a hint of blue or a bit of yellow etc.) for use in green-screen production where the green background is digitally removed and the actors superimposed on a new background.


Well that’s it”, said Stephen, bringing me back to the real purpose of my visit. I was going to be making a video about paper recycling for Highlander International’s website so I better get a brief and do a recce. Sometimes I will just do a briefing session with the client on the phone but other times I’ll do a walk-though with the client, taking notes and photographs as we go. Both will be useful once back at the office to write the script. So this is what I picked up about Highlander International Paper Recyclers.
The recycling process obviously starts in your premises and may consist of ordinary office waste paper, confidential waste, surplus or outdated marketing stock, mixed papers, newspapers and magazines. It may even be roll ends from printers or full rolls from a paper mill that is no longer required or faulty.
Highlander provides its customers with a range of collection options like 30yd open skips, 35 yard compactor skips, 20-35yd lockable walk-in skips. They also collect in plastic tubs (they are crate size), bespoke cages, on pallets, in bales and bags using their roll-on roll-off trucks, curtain side trucks, secure tail lift box van and 45ft articulated trailers.

Because Highlander is a privately owned Independent paper recycling company it does not operate under the same restrictions that a mill owned recycler does. Highlander is free to trade the recovered paper with any approved reputable customers worldwide, thereby achieving maximum best value and higher waste paper prices or scrap paper prices. That best value is then passed back to the company’s waste paper suppliers.

Once the waste paper arrives it is handled by the firm’s fleet of 7 JCB Teletrucks, the loose paper being moved to the grading station where workers manually grade the waste into 20 separate grades, an important part in achieving maximum value for the recovered paper.


With two of these on site they can process up to 50 tonnes of waste paper every hour.
Each forcing out a line of recovered paper or cardboard bales.
The bales, each weighing perhaps as much as 600kg, are the stored in the large warehouse until sold to clients around the globe.

Branded paper kept locked and under CCTV
Branded paper kept locked and under CCTV
As well as recycling mixed paper waste Highlander also specialise in confidential waste destruction, such as confidential documents and surplus branded or watermarked papers. When the confidential waste arrives it is kept in a locked secure area that is covered by CCTV and all staff vetted annually through Disclosure Scotland. Clients even have the option of monitoring the destruction of their confidential waste remotely. Highlander International has an unrivalled capacity to deal with confidential waste destruction and disposal.

The document destruction hammer mill is capable of processing 7 tonnes of confidential waste per hour. It’s the largest of its kind in Scotland which means customers can be sure their confidential waste is processed faster.

Left: Large reels of paper waiting for processing  Right: 2.2m wide reel splitter splitting small paper reel

If the waste arrives on reels it can be separated from the cardboard cores using a 2.2m wide reel splitter, the largest in Scotland and capable of dealing with reels from 100kg to 4 tonnes. The reel splitter blade easily cuts through the paper before the machine disgorges the separated material onto the grading station floor for baling.

Now that the paper has processed the bales will be stored in the warehouse until sold. Highlander’s unrivalled knowledge of paper mills and processors of recovered paper worldwide allows them to send the paper to the mills that provide best value.




Now the bales will be loaded onto curtain side trucks or containers and shipped daily to destinations across the UK, Europe, Asia and the Far East with many clients situated in India, Pakistan and China. The company will trade up to 100,000 tonnes annually from their Glasgow recycling centre.

Highlander International Paper Recyclers are based in East Kilbride, Glasgow, Scotland and can be contacted on 01355 524215 for paper recycling, confidential waste destruction and disposal plus the best waste paper and scrap paper prices.

Watch the finished video here or on YouTube and see how paper is recycled.

For more details about Highlander visit the company website here.
For more details about Tosh Lubek Productions click here.

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