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Leading from the lab

It is only through continued innovation and investment in our laboratory that we can support local authorities and waste producers in their efforts to not only divert waste from landfill, but to completely ‘close the loop’ while still driving down costs.

This month marks the start of construction of our new £600,000 lab to be completed in December this year. It will equip us with the facilities we need to accelerate our technical development of high performance thermoplastic polymers with a high recycled content for markets both at home and increasingly abroad.

The facility will enable our team to continue to undertake the testing, development and analysis research work providing bespoke solutions for niche markets.

In 1982 we established our first lab as part of a strategy that has enabled us to stay ahead of emerging markets such as recycled materials into the automotive industry. We now provide high performance compounds for major auto manufacturers including Nissan, Ford, Jaguar, BMW and most recently Renault.

Our lab work has also helped us achieve improvements in compound design through a new European collaboration project that focuses on the technical aspects of recycled polymers in car interiors. It has led to the development of a new lightweight polymer known as Hycolene which reduces interior component weight to enable manufacturers meet tough CO2 targets.

We also expect our manufacturing processes overall will improve as a result of the investment, as it will no longer be necessary to take out a production machine to run our ongoing development work. This will help particularly with projects such as the compatibilisation of polymer alloys and the creation of recycled polymers with a high scratch resistance now being demanded by automotive manufacturers.

But most importantly, the laboratory will continue to provide a technical ‘hub’ right across the business supporting our ‘closed-loop’ wheel bin and transit packaging recycling schemes in meeting customers’ cost-efficiency and eco performance goals.

We’ve been supporting local authorities for 20 years with our closed loop recycling scheme, known as Bin2Bin, providing either a no charge or revenue generating service for end-of-life wheel bins.

Our Bin2Bin scheme works by enabling end-of-life wheel bins to be re-engineered back into the same product. We collect the old bins which, on arrival at our plastics processing plant, are washed, shredded, granulated and then melted. The materials are then re-engineered to a specification as near to the orginal material as possible and colour matched to the customer’s requirements.

We can also completely ‘close the loop’ by forwarding the resulting reformulated compound to the local authority’s moulder to manufacture new bins for re-entry into their supply chain. Luxus also offers this service to other industries such as the logistics packaging sector.

Our continuing laboratory work for this market has enabled us to offer wheel bin raw material in an increasing variety of colours, including blue, green and brown. We’re now able to produce sustainable compounds made from 95% recycled materials that are UV stabilised too, preventing deterioration in use.

As the need to improve recycling rates increases, so have new bin categories emerged such as 23 litre kitchen waste bins and 6 litre kitchen caddies, creating opportunities and challenges to meet both consumer and local authority needs. We are currently working, for example, on the technology needed to help reduce decaying food waste odour.

Our lab will ensure that we stay five years ahead of the competition. But most importantly, our innovations and service will together help to put local authorities back in control of their supply chains too.

Peter Atterby, managing director Luxus

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