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Waste Exchange Services invest in technology

Plastics recycler Waste Exchange Services (WES) has invested £1.3m in new machinery after being helped by a local government grant.

The Teesside firm was considering scaling down its plastic recycling activities until regional development agency One North East intervened to support the existing 40 manufacturing jobs.

A £100,000 grant has enabled WES to undertake an expansion programme, preserving the existing jobs and creating new ones.

WES managing director James Donaldson said: “The competition in this industry is very strong, and with so much business going to China, it was simply a case of expand or die.”

With the assistance of WRAP’s equipment leasing scheme, eQuip, the firm will almost double its capacity for manufacturing recycled plastic compounds.

The investment centres on an Erema 1700 TVE compounding line that will in one pass create melt filtered pelletised compound from scrap polypropylene packaging materials.

The equipment is currently being commissioned.

“By the end of January we should be up to 40 tonnes per day,” Donaldson said.

Other machinery includes a Vecoplan AZ 2000 MF shredder from Systems for Recycling and two 20-tonne fountain blenders from Regis Machinery. A fully computerised control system is also part of the overall investment.

“We hope to take lower grade PP waste streams and convert them into high grade product,” Donaldson said.

The new equipment, he added, “will give us improved quality control. It will give us greater consistency and better productivity”.

Demand for recycled compound is strong, Donaldson said, and the main challenge remained sourcing scrap materials against strong demand from overseas buyers.

The investment will allow lower grade post-industrial scrap — “hopefully stuff even the Chinese don’t want” — to be recycled.

WES has been reprocessing plastics on Teesside since 1999. Despite the difficulties, Donaldson believes that with the right investment strategy plastics reprocessing has a bright future.

“Plastics recycling is a manufacturing business. Companies investing in the right equipment are the ones that will succeed,” he said.

As well as PP, the company continues to reprocess PE, ABS, HIPS, and post-consumer EPS.

This story is taken from our sister site www

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