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A move up the value chain

Plastics recycler Regain Polymers has evolved and expanded to keep up with changing industry demands. Mark Roberts, its technical sales director explains how

Regain Polymers was formed in 1991 and was initially solely a recycler of post-consumer polystyrene products. After being acquired by Chamonix Private Equity in early 2011, the business expanded to supply to a wider range of sectors.

Throughout the last decade there has been a noticeable increase in technical demand from Regain’s customers, so to keep up-to-date with the latest developments, significant investment has been placed into a new product development laboratory. The lab, now in its final build phase, will enable the company to further improve its range of products for highly specified and niche customers. Already, as a result of investment in lab, it has won new business from Scandinavia.

Regain is currently preparing to expand into blue chip markets, which requires a higher level of technical expertise – another reason for the development lab. The company’s focus will remain on recycled materials, but it is developing grades that blend additives and primes with recycled plastics to meet high technical demands. There is also a focus on the export market, especially in Europe. Manufacturers of plastic containers, pallets and crates throughout Europe are of specific interest to us.

As a result of an increased emphasis on kerbside collections, there has been growth in the amount of post-consumer plastics available. Significant technical advances have been made in the sorting of plastics across the sector, with the increase of post-consumer plastics. This has enabled us to purchase cleaner feedstocks, so we can continue to meet customer demands. This increase has also coincided with a decrease in post-industrial supply, due to the rise of internal recycling within industry to save costs.

Communications-wise, the plastics industry, like most others, now has a greater emphasis on all things digital, so it has been a focus of ours to engage with customers and consumers through increased digital activity. We recently teamed up with packaging group, RPC, to produce a consumer-focused YouTube video promoting the importance of recycling used plastics. We also produced a promotional video which looks at how we operate as a business.

Since rebranding to become Regain Polymers, there has been a huge amount of investment in both brand development and our facilities, including increased capacity via a new twin screw compound line, and the purchase of a second processing site for scrap material in Rainham, Essex – through acquisition of Express Recycling & Plastics in late 2011. Regain has also increased its field sales team and increased its technical support among the sales team, to aid customers with trials and help it better understand how requirements are changing.

The product development laboratory will be an on-going investment.  In seeking new, increasingly efficient, ways to meet the needs of our customers we may identify avenues for process exploration and product testing. Furthermore, the lab will enable us to connect with our local community to a greater degree. Plans are being discussed to involve local schools in the lab’s work.

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