VIBES Award: Circular Economy


  • Re-use of potential waste materials minimises the need for recycling which, particularly for steel, requires high energy use
  • Saving of around 30% in comparison to using virgin materials
  • Take back scheme for products e.g. materials used in piling for Commonwealth Games were retrieved afterwards
  • Introduction of an automated sorting and cutting system to make the onsite process more efficient and sustainable
Sponsored by: SEPA
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John Lawrie is a metal reuse and recycling company. The site in Montrose specifically receives and processes redundant tubulars (steel pipes) from the offshore oil and gas industry which are otherwise deemed for disposal. A reuse for the tubulars has been established; with minimum remanufacture these can be made into a reusable product in the construction piling market in place of concrete.

The Circular Economy award is for businesses whose product or service fit the principles of the circular economy and demonstrates the business and environmental benefits of a closed loop approach. The judges considered that the commitment of John Lawrie and the environmental benefits achieved were worthy of an award in this category.

John Lawrie has built a substantial business on the back of an observation that redundant steel tubulars from the oil and gas industry could be used as a replacement for traditional concrete in construction piling. They are demonstrating an innovative and novel approach, creating savings of around 30% in comparison to using virgin materials.

As the steel tubulars have been originally designed and manufactured for a hostile offshore environment, they are not prone to breaking when being driven into the ground, consequently, using steel tubulars provides contractors with stronger and more reliable piling options and also enhances safety standards. This is evidenced by the increasing volumes in sales.

John Lawrie have secured many long-term procurement contracts with most oil and gas companies which, importantly, ensures continuity and sustainability of supply of their reusable products to other industries. An investment in excess of £500k in a state of the art automated tubular production line at their Montrose facility was completed in 2016, followed by a further £100k investment in the construction of a pipe inspection facility.

Through their on-going investment in their facilities, they have not only sustained permanent long term jobs in the Montrose area, and in other areas of their business, but also have seen an increase in staffing, which is set to continue as their planned growth develops.

The recent investment and installation of a bespoke production facility to process steel tubulars for reuse at their Montrose site is clear evidence of re-designing their business for the future and their commitment to growing and developing their circular business model.

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Ray Grant, Environmental Director at John Lawrie Group, said; “We are honoured to have been recognised at this year’s VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards. Winning the Circular Economy award is a real testament to the hard work and commitment from everyone at John Lawrie Group towards reducing our impact on the environment. We are fully committed to the Circular Economy model which is being actively driven across the UK and Europe with Scotland at the very forefront, and are proud to take our place amongst many excellent companies working hard to deliver a sustainable future.