June 2020

Tackling Plastic Pollution in Manufacturing

Tackling the plastic pollution problem
Tackling the plastic pollution problem

There is a groundswell of opinion that says we should all be worried about where unwanted plastic ends up and the damage that it can do if it is not managed correctly. For those of us in an industry which works with plastic every day, it is therefore imperative that we try to act positively to improve the use and disposal of plastics.

Two Devon based companies have joined forces to try and do their bit to tackle this problem.

Teignmouth-based Product Design Consultancy, Hillside Design Ltd (HPDL) develop products from the first sketch concept all the way through to manufacture for a plethora of clients including large multi-national companies and individual private inventors, Director Chris Howsam and his team responsibly source all materials they specify and they ensure those materials meet the highest standards of quality.

Chris says, “It has always been a challenge to specify high quality, second use plastics because of their limited availability and the perceived risks from contamination. Many plastic users such as injection moulding companies will not risk damage to an expensive moulding press and this is a hurdle to specifying second use plastics instead of virgin plastic stock”.

The good news for Hillside is that now help is at hand thanks to Devon Contract Waste (DCW) who have invested heavily in acquiring a plastics reprocessing business, now operating as DCW Polymers, in Wrangaton. The plant is equipped with a range of shredders and granulators, turning waste plastics back into top quality granulated plastics, which go back into the manufacturing process and reduce the need for virgin plastic in the manufacturing system. DCW Polymers have recently purchased a brand new shredder and granulation line which has significantly increased their capacity, and the plant is now capable of processing over 50 tonnes of quality recycled plastics per week. Later this year the whole operation is due to relocate to DCW’s new premises in Marsh Barton, Exeter.

Simon Almond, MD of DCW Polymers commented “We were excited to acquire the plastics recycling business in 2019, and with additional investment and support we see that this will be a major part of DCW Polymers business overall. As a nation, we need to do more to proactively encourage the recycling of plastics, and we hope that we can play our part in this. We want to encourage the take up of recycled plastics by more UK manufacturers, and by working alongside Chris and the team at HPDL we hope that we can encourage more product designers and manufacturers to replace virgin polymers with high quality recycled plastics”.

Chris added, “I’m delighted about having this facility, especially as it sits quite literally on our doorstep here in Devon. HPDL and our supply partners are very conscious of the part we play in tackling the environmental costs of launching new products and now in collaboration with DCW Polymers we can all contribute more positively to reducing the burden of unwanted plastic in Devon.”

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Recycle & Raise

October 2019 saw DCW Polymers launch an exciting recycling scheme that aimed to raise consumer awareness regarding the ease of recycling confectionery tubs, thus preventing volumes of waste plastics from ending up in landfill after the Christmas period. We then donated all the profits from the onward sale of that material to Dartmoor Zoo – a charity that DCW Polymers have proudly sponsored for several years.

We provided drop off facilities at all of our DCW Polymers sites and enlisted the help of over 85 local businesses who volunteered to store the tubs for us; including LED Leisure Centres, Tesco, Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital along with many schools and other businesses across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset! We are extremely grateful for the incredible support we received from the general public and the supporting partners for making it such a roaring success.

With great interest, the story was covered by the Devon Live, and Kingsbridge & Salcombe Gazette had a segment aired on BBC Spotlight, as well as a broadcast on Radio Exe – Exeter’s most popular local radio station.

At the final count, the number of tubs we collected was 12,554 which equated to 1,745kg of plastic material, which we were thankfully able to turn into hundreds of pounds to help towards the upkeep of Dartmoor Zoo.

A massive thank you to the thousands of people who contributed towards this endeavour, we hope you will join us later in the year when we plan to organise this event again and if possible, to raise even more money for charity.

So keep your eyes peeled for updates and save those tubs if they are marked with a PP or HDPE triangle!

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