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New bins from old

Fresh back from RWM, Leafield Environmental showed visitors and customers how to make a difference, reduce landfill and close the recycling loop. Katie McGrath marketing manager reports.

Recycling is at the core of Leafield Environmental’s business and sustainability is the company ethos. As well as producing recycling bins that encourage recycling and the segregation of recyclable material at the point of collection, the company - formerly known as Linpac Environmental - also manufactures bins from recycled material and recycles/reuses 100% of its production waste.

In a scheme in which a number of local authorities and major customers have taken part, Leafield is recovering outdated and redundant plastic products to re-manufacture into second-generation products; showing that the company takes its Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibilities very seriously.

The service enables customers to reduce their disposal costs in terms of landfill, administration and transportation, while meeting their CSR obligations by selecting a viable, auditable recycling route for obsolete plastic items such as bins, bollards and water tanks.

Leafield would prefer to sell its products as replacements for the obsolete items but this is not a pre-condition for participating in the scheme

Obsolete products made from rotationally moulded, Medium Density Polyethylene (MDPE), which previously would have ended up in landfill, are chipped at Leafield’s manufacturing plant in Corsham, Wiltshire, thereby overcoming the environmental impact of disposal, saving landfill costs and closing the recycling loop.

Leafield - granulate from old bins

Leafield - granulate from old bins

To make the enterprise beneficial for all involved and mitigate the carbon footprint of the operation there are some guidelines. Firstly the material should preferably, but not essentially, be MDPE, as this is the raw material for the Leafield rotational moulding process. Material that has previously been rotationally moulded is ideal as it is of known quality and can readily be chipped and reprocessed in-house.

Leafield has developed a new and exciting manufacturing route which it calls the Smart E-Bin process whereby waste material is colour segregated and used in its chipped form for rotational moulding rather than having to be re-compounded and milled which has a higher energy demand and adds further carbon cost to the process.

There also has to be a sufficient quantity of material for collection to make the project worthwhile and at worst carbon neutral. Local authorities are encouraged to collect the material, bins, tanks etc, as part of their daily logistics rounds and store in some central location for subsequent collection.

Injection moulded items such as defunct wheelie bins and kerbside bins are equally problematic for councils to dispose of. Leafield Environmental can arrange to reprocess such items through a network of recycling facilities throughout the country - a network with which the company has long standing arrangements.

Once collected, the material is reprocessed and sold as mixed recyclate on the open market before ultimately being made into second-generation products. The chemistry of such recyclate is not specifically suitable for use in Leafield’s manufacturing process but that doesn’t deter the company from offering the service to everyone.

Leafield - new product

Leafield - new product

Leafield would prefer to sell its products as replacements for the obsolete items but unlike with many of its competitors, this is in no way a pre-condition for participating in the scheme.

One London Borough collected 500 pieces of street furniture but was confronted with substantial disposal costs, as no one would reprocess the items without an order to replace them. Leafield collected the items for recycling at no cost and the borough was able to clearly demonstrate its green credentials.

The company believes its service makes a real contribution towards sustainability and that we can help companies that choose us, make a difference, reduce landfill and close the recycling loop.


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