DCW Polymers partners with Rhino Play to create sustainable play equipment made from recycled plastic

Recycled plastic furniture. Tick. Fence posts. Tick. Decking. Tick. Dog agility equipment. Tick. Since the launch of our recycled plastic furniture range in 2021, we’ve created a variety of products in a bid to create a more circular economy in the South West. Now, we’ve partnered with commercial outdoor play specialists Rhino Play to create children’s play equipment made from recycled plastic.

At DCW Polymers we manufacture plastic planks from the waste plastic we collect from South West businesses. We launched our range with outdoor garden furniture and have since developed the manufacturing process to create even more products. We thought it was about time we ventured into play equipment!

Partnering with Rhino Play

Founded in 2013, Newton Abbot based Rhino Play creates commercial play equipment for a variety of businesses including schools, local councils and holiday parks. Having delivered play equipment to thousands of customers to date, Rhino Play was looking for a more sustainable, longer-lasting alternative to timber.

Enter DCW Polymers. Our team of plastic recycling experts can mould plastic waste into planks. This recycled material can then be used by Rhino Play to create bespoke play equipment for a variety of outdoor spaces. This allows Rhino Play to become more environmentally responsible when choosing its materials.

The partnership has only just begun but Rhino Play has already received three orders for play equipment made from DCW Polymers’ recycled plastic material.

Stuart Hunt, Sales and Design Manager at Rhino Play, commented: “We are delighted to be working with DCW Polymers on our new recycled plastic range. It’s great to know that we are giving new life to plastic waste by creating very durable, long-lasting products which can be recycled again in the future. We can now offer our clients alternatives to timber that weren’t originally available. This recycled product does not rot and is extremely strong but innovative in its design.”

Rhino Play works closely with every customer to create the perfect sustainable design which will fit within their commercial outdoor space. The team of play specialists can create bespoke set-ups using hundreds of designs. From Adventure Climbers to Pirate Ships, Playhouses to Sand Pits, there’s something for everyone.

Enhance your sustainability credentials

Purchasers of the new play equipment made from recycled plastic will benefit from a 25-year guarantee. The equipment will not rot, splinter or corrode and will not require painting or treating. Little feet can stomp all over the play equipment without doing any damage.

It can also enhance a business’ sustainability credentials. DCW Polymers is a Zero to Landfill company so by purchasing recycled plastic play equipment, customers can purchase with the confidence that they are contributing to a truly circular economy, keeping waste away from landfill.

Simon Almond, Managing Director at DCW Polymers, commented: “Our recycled plastic furniture range knows no limits! We’re always trying to push the boundaries to unlock the potential plastic waste has to create the best recycled products in the UK. We kick-started this initiative with plastic furniture but it has quickly grown. We are now pleased to partner with Rhino Play to bring the South West sustainable play equipment.”

Simon continued: “As a Zero to Landfill business, we like to support other like-minded businesses who have a thirst for becoming more sustainable. This is why we have chosen to partner with local business Rhino Play. We’re excited to bring more sustainable products to companies across the South West.”

To cope with the increasing demand for recycled plastic products, DCW Polymers has recently invested £290,000 in new machinery and facilities, increasing production of the range by 400%.

Are you keen to join hundreds of other businesses across the South West and invest in recycled plastic products? Does your old and tired play equipment need replacing? Click here for more information or contact our team on 01392 535353.

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The damage plastic does to the environment and the importance of plastic recycling

Plastic pollution has been at the forefront of our minds for years now. It’s an issue that’s rife in every country but it’s emerged recently that Britain is the second biggest per capita producer of plastic waste in the world (source: The Guardian). The tide needs to turn and a big push on plastic recycling in the UK could help save our planet. You may already be aware of DCW Polymers, a leading plastics recycling and reprocessing plant in Exeter, Devon. We collect waste plastic, turn it back into high-quality plastic granules and sell it back into the manufacturing industry. Materials that end up at DCW Polymers never go to landfill so if you are on the hunt for ‘plastic recycling near me’, do bear us in mind. In this blog, we explore just some of the reasons why we need to do more to recycle plastic and what the future for this waste stream currently looks like…

How does plastic harm the environment?

Have you ever wondered what all the fuss is about? Why is plastic so harmful to the environment and what’s the worst that can happen if we don’t reduce the amount of plastic waste we generate?

It all begins with the sheer amount of plastic waste that is produced. Since polypropylene was invented in 1951, plastic has been widely used throughout the manufacturing industry. Popular due to its resistance to chemicals, high flexibility, durability and low cost, polypropylene is ideal for a variety of packaging and products. As a result of its popularity, the UK generates an incredible 2.2 million metric tons of plastic packaging waste each year (source: Statista). So, where does all of that plastic waste go? After China introduced a ban on foreign waste in 2018, Malaysia has become the UK’s main plastic waste export destination. The practice of shipping plastic waste abroad brings with it a host of problems for the environment.

Dr. Kevin Bridgen, Senior Scientist from Greenpeace Research Laboratories, said: “When plastics are exported from one country to another, they can bring with them a wide range of hazardous chemicals. Improper storage and treatment can later release these chemicals into the local environment and burning can even generate new hazardous chemicals” (source: Greenpeace).

Plastic waste not only has a detrimental effect on the earth’s atmosphere, it has a serious impact on marine life too. You’re probably familiar with the harrowing images of underwater creatures eating or getting trapped in plastic. It’s something the production team of Blue Planet II experienced first-hand back in 2018. “For years, we thought that the oceans were so vast that nothing we could do could have an effect upon them. But now we know that was wrong” said David Attenborough in the last episode of the award-winning series.

An incredible 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean every year where it can be lethal (source: YouTube). Creatures such as fish, sea turtles and whales can become entangled in plastic waste or ingest it which can cause suffocation, starvation and drowning. Research has shown that half of sea turtles worldwide have ingested plastic and the waste kills up to a million seabirds each year (source: PEW).

You may wonder how plastic waste ends up in the ocean when you don’t directly put it there. When you throw something into your general waste bin, it begins its journey to a landfill site. With plastic being such a light wight material, it can easily be blown away and end up down the drain or in a river where it will eventually be dumped in the ocean. Littering is another culprit. Drop a plastic bag or wrapper on the street and rainwater will wash it away, into the drain and you guessed it, into the ocean (source: WWF).

Plastic is extremely hard to break down as it doesn’t biodegrade like other materials. The organisms that break down organic materials such as food and garden waste have evolved to attack certain types of bonds that are common in nature. The bonds in polypropylene are so complex that organisms simply don’t recognise this material (source: LiveScience). Plastic will decompose eventually, but it can take up to 1,000 years for it to decompose at landfill sites with plastic bottles alone taking 450 years or more (source: Daily Sabah).

So, what can we do to stop the damage plastic waste causes?

The future of plastic recycling

There’s a strong appetite in the UK for change when it comes to plastic pollution. As mentioned, Malaysia is the UK’s main plastic waste export destination but a recent survey showed that 85% of respondents believed that the UK should deal with its own plastic waste rather than shipping it abroad (source: Statista). It is also hoped that the UK Government will take some responsibility for turning the tide on plastic waste. In November 2020, Lord Goldsmith revealed that Britain will throw its weight behind a new global agreement which will seek to tackle the plastic pollution crisis. As the Minister for Pacific and the Environment, Lord Goldsmith has said that a UN treaty on plastics is needed similar to the Paris agreement on the climate crisis (source: The Guardian). It’s a promising step in the right direction and we hope that it will lead to an eventual end to plastic pollution.

We adopt a circular approach to plastic waste at DCW Polymers. As the only plastics recycling plant south of Bridgewater, we provide a plastic waste recycling service to South West businesses, collecting a variety of waste products. From plastic pallets to wheelie bins, fuel tanks to kayaks, we recycle bulky plastics at our specialist plant in Exeter. Our state-of-the-art machinery is capable of processing in excess of 100 tonnes of plastic a week. It turns waste plastic back into high quality plastic granules which go back into the manufacturing process and reduce the need for virgin plastic products to be manufactured.

We’re always looking at ways in which we can encourage businesses and individuals to recycle their plastic waste. Recently, we launched our Recycle & Raise appeal which asks the public to donate plastic tubs, such as the confectionary tubs many households have at Christmas, for recycling to raise funds for Dartmoor Zoo and mental health charity, Mind. Last year, the campaign raised over £1,200 for Dartmoor Zoo after recycling over 15,000 confectionary tubs and selling the plastic granules back into the manufacturing industry. We hope to smash that record this year. Click here to find out more about this year’s campaign and where you can donate your plastic tubs.

If you’d like to know more about how we manage and recycle plastics at DCW Polymers, click here or call 01392 535353.

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