14 September 2020 by James Langley

Recresco targets stability after Ellesmere Port site acquisition

This week saw glass recycling company Recresco announce it had purchased the Ellesmere Port site it has occupied on a lease basis for the past 12 years. James Langley investigates what’s brewing in Cheshire.


With many companies afflicted by paralysis throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Recresco has acted swiftly and decisively to push on with plans to secure the business’s future.

The company has purchased the Ellesmere Port site from which it has operated for the last 12 years and made several significant investments in technology at the facility.

Recresco has now purchased the Ellesmere Port site it has occupied on a lease basis for the past 12 years

Recresco’s director Tim Gent told letsrecycle.com: “The purchase of new plant equipment, along with a number of other significant investments by the business including the acquisition of the land at Ellesmere Port and the installation of a new state-of-the-art cyber security system, forms part of Recresco’s growth strategy aimed at future-proofing the business and delivering the highest quality product to our customers.

“Recresco has made a firm commitment to the use of market leading systems and technology”

Tim Gent

“Recresco has made a firm commitment to the use of market leading systems and technology to ensure both our depots at Ellesmere Port and Cwmbran are of world class standard.”

The company announced today (14 September) it had completed a multi-million-pound deal with Peel Ports to purchase the Ellesmere Port site the company has occupied on a lease basis. The purchase secures Recresco’s long term future on the site, the company says, while allowing it to develop its operations and opening employment opportunities at the Cheshire location.

Recresco has also recently completed the installation of a cyber security system, including firewalls, secure site-to-site tunnels, server and endpoint protection, web and email content filtering and checks on all inbound and outbound emails for potential attacks.

Ellesmere Port

Having been set up by Tim’s father, Alan, in Norfolk in 1973, Recresco is now one of the glass recycling sector’s biggest names. It claims to have been the first recycling company to sort glass by colour and the first to take glass sourced from materials recycling facilities (MRFs).

Tim Gent is the director of UK glass recycling company Recresco

The company has headquarters in Nottingham and operates another site in Cwmbran, South Wales. The Ellesmere Port site facility is its largest, covering approximately 12 acres. At the plant, most of the glass is sourced from MRFs and the end product is sold on to bottle maker Encirc.

Mr Gent said: “We have occupied the site at Ellesmere Port since 2008 and find the location and facilities provide the perfect backdrop for our recycling activities.

“The site is ideally placed to serve Recresco, being far removed from any housing with strong infrastructure in place to support our business including rail links, a supply of natural gas and the connection to the Greater Manchester Ship Canal. This means we can move glass in and out of the plant with minimum disruption to residents and without reliance on road transport which could risk overwhelming the local regional road network.

“By purchasing this land, we now have the opportunity to meet our long-term growth goals, develop our business further and make full use of the opportunities this excellent site offers in terms of location and transport links. We remain fully committed to a lasting future at Ellesmere Port and this purchase serves to secure our place there.”

Sorting system

The acquisition of the Ellesmere Port site is only the latest announcement in what has been a particularly busy period for the company. Just a couple of weeks ago Recresco revealed it had made a significant investment in glass sorting technology from industrial machinery specialist Sesotec.

Sesotec’s K9 sorting plant enables the enhanced sorting of glass from co-mingled kerbside and HWRC collections

The K9 optical sorting system boasts enhanced colour sorting ability, reduced production of dust and increased material capacity through greater efficiency, Sesotec says. The system allows Recresco to separate glass fragments glass from co-mingled kerbside and household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) collections by colour while removing foreign material, such as ceramics, stones and porcelain (CSP) with ease.

Mr Gent said: “At Recresco we always strive to ensure we deliver the highest quality end product and are proud to invest in world class technology to meet this goal.

“The Sesotec system offers our business a more efficient means to sort and reprocess glass ready for remelt. We have already noted an increase of around 20-25% in the capacity of glass going through our facility and a significant reduction in dust onsite due to the enhanced dust extraction feature.”

Separation

The K9 optical sorting system was not to be Recresco’s last investment at the Ellesmere Port facility. The company recently bought three of Impact Air Systems’ Zigzag Air Classifier (ZAC800) separation systems, to join the one it owned already.

“Recresco’s glass recycling sites are impressive to say the least”

Dave Lansdell, Impact Air Systems

The ZAC800 removes fibre, dust and plastic contamination from the glass material stream. Contaminated material is fed into a classification unit via a material in-feed rotary valve, where it enters a cascade enclosure and falls through an upward air stream. Differences in particle shape and density cause the lighter material to be lifted by the air stream, leaving the heavier density material to discharge from the bottom. Lighter material is then transported via a heavy-duty transition section to a material drop out hopper section for discharge via a further rotary valve.

Recresco’s investment in three further ZAC800s underlines their satisfaction with their existing machine. Impact Air Systems, a global pneumatic conveying system company based in Leicester, claims Recresco’s first ZAC800 paid for itself within months. Technical sales director Dave Lansdell said he was pleased Recresco had chosen the company’s systems.

“Recresco’s glass recycling sites are impressive to say the least, and we’re really happy they are getting the required results from our systems,” he said.

Covid-19

The level of investment at a time of global crisis suggests Recresco has not been unduly troubled by the Covid-19 pandemic. This, Mr Gent told letsrecycle.com, is very much the case for the moment, though he has a few concerns about the future.

“So far, the pandemic has had little effect on the business overall”

Tim Gent

“So far, the pandemic has had little effect on the business overall,” he said. “However, it is difficult to fully appreciate what the long-term consequences of the current situation will be at this early stage.

“In the UK, there has been a significant increase in material, particularly from kerbside collection, and the volume has been difficult to manage. There has also been a notable reduction in demand for product to the European marketplace which we hope will recover quite quickly.”

While Covid-19 restrictions are in place Recresco is doing its best to comply with all requirements.

Mr Gent said: “In terms of social distancing requirements, the layout of our depots and the functions our staff complete means keeping a two-metre distance is easily achievable. Like most businesses, the uncertainly around travel and imposed 14-day quarantine could potentially cause an issue for our workforce who may be required to self-isolate at home following holidays, but this hasn’t been an issue so far.”

PRN income

One impact of the pandemic the business has felt is a reduction in PRN income. The last few months have seen the value of the glass PRN fall, a development Mr Gent describes as “surprising”.

He told letsrecycle.com: “We have seen a reduction in PRN income due to the pandemic. With a surprisingly high level of glass PRNS, the value has decreased and had a knock-on effect on revenue for the business. We do expect this to recover towards the end of this year, however.”

It is easy to see how optimism such as this has driven investments at the Ellesmere Port site. Recresco refuses to be cowed by global pressures and will hope developments in the last few months bring stability amid wide-spread turmoil.

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