In this exclusive Q&A with Bright Green Plastics, editor Grace Nolan talks to Managing Director Steve Spencer about the company’s recent £750,000 investment into the development of its new plastics sorting plant in Castleford. Find out if the new plant has lived up to expectations, what’s next and how the company is on a mission to develop the next generation of engineers
Could you tell us about this investment and what the company hopes to gain from it?
The investment was the introduction of a PRF (plastics recovery facility) which enables us to purchase mixed plastics and sort them by polymer and colour to suit our own requirements. This way we have full control of the quality of our own feedstock as well as giving us access to new markets here and in Europe.
As the new plant has been fully operational since the end of July 2020, has it lived up to expectations?
The PRF is exceeding expectation. With the introduction of some clever technology as well as the support from Pellenc to ensure their NIR sorters are working hard and efficiently, we are achieving a 20% increased throughput against design throughput. Excellent work by the BGP team and our suppliers all round.
How is the new Castleford sorting plant part of Bright Green Plastic’s long-term investment plan?
We needed more control over our feedstock as we enter a new era in the supply of recycled compounds, we simply cannot be reliant on suppliers giving us what we need any longer and we must take control of this. The PRF gives us that control with some to spare as we now look at developing higher performing compounds for our own customers.
Has there been any challenges from this investment?
All of the team went through a very steep learning curve as ultimately a PRF is more often found within the waste industry rather than a compound manufacturer. NIR sorters, disc screens and especially mill size balers have all been a challenge however, the team have really stepped up to the plate to get us into such a positive position in which we find ourselves today. All of that said, our biggest challenge now is we have run out of capacity, so we are already planning to increase the size of this plant in the near future.
The company has recently taken on its first two new apprentices as part of the firm’s mission to develop the next generation of engineers. Could you tell us more about this training scheme and what the company hopes to gain from having these apprentices?
The aim of our apprenticeship scheme is to find talented young people from the area and give them an opportunity to build a career with a business that has a genuine future however, without investing in young people we would have nobody to manage and work in the business in the future.
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What are Bright Green Plastics future ambitions with the training program? Will there be more apprentices in the future?
We want to train future leaders; this is imperative to keep the UK at the forefront of plastic recycling. We now have three apprentices in the business, our two engineers and also an apprentice in our finance team and we intend to keep increasing the number of apprentices we have year on year.
How does the company stay ahead in terms
We have a clear three-year plan that includes many innovative projects including a new PRF and new extrusion lines, one of the lines will be specifically innovative so we can continue producing recycled compounds to an ever-improved quality.