24 February 2021 by Robyn White

Ward Recycling ceases trading

North East England business Ward Recycling Ltd has ceased trading, prompting at least one local authority, Bolsover district council, to take its collection contract in-house. 

Ward Recycling Ltd (company number 04373217) has its registered office in Northallerton with operational facilities in Middlesbrough and elsewhere. [The company has no connection with Donald Ward Ltd, see below]

Ward Recycling’s paper sorting plant in Hartlepool opened in May 2019

With a range of aspects to its business and despite challenges within certain parts – particularly to do with a fibre-sorting facility which supplied material to Palm Recycling (part of the Palm Paper group) – it had hoped to pull through its financial challenges.

Bolsover district council said that its recycling contractor, Ward Recycling Limited, has gone into administration.

In a statement published yesterday (23 February), Bolsover district council announced its recycling collections were now in-house, once it became clear that the Middlesbrough-based recycling company was to “cease operating”.

It added that it had to react “extremely quickly”, and transferred all vehicles, and up to 12 members of staff from the company.

Bolsover district council says collections of ‘burgundy recycling bins’ will continue uninterrupted

The district council emphasised that residents would not see any changes to the “burgundy-coloured” recycling bin collections and that the service would continue “uninterrupted”.

Ward Recycling lists its activities as operating the Hartlepool  fibre sort facility, and a Middlesbrough materials recycling facility (MRF), a glass benefaction plan and also kerbside and bring bank services.

The company previously also held contracts with councils such as Richmondshire and Hambleton districts in North Yorkshire although both have since moved in-house.

Losses

In its accounts for the year ended 31 January 2019, published in April 2020, Ward Recycling reported a pre-tax loss of just over £1 million in the financial year (to 31 January 2018 it lost £121,000). The latest accounts are overdue and were due by 29 January 2021. On the 29 January 2021, HSBC bank registered a fixed and floating charge on the company’s assets at Companies House.

Ward Recycling reported in the financial statement for the year to January 2019 that it was “heavily reliant” on continued support of the company’s bankers, HSBC plc, particularly in respect to its short-term loans drawn to build the £6.1m fibre sort facility.

It added that delays in bringing the Hartlepool facility into operation resulted in “significant  increases” in costs during 2019, while revenues did not start.

The statement also commented that Ward Recycling was “over reliant” on one customer, Palm Recycling Limited, which sourced materials for the facility. It said that as a result, the company was potentially “over exposed” to Palm Recycling.

‘Swiftly secured’

In its statement, Bolsover district council said that there were discussions to move services in house last year, as a “plan B”.

Commenting on the now in-house service, council leader Steve Fritchley said: “This now gives us that opportunity to look at the service, see how it is being delivered and see what changes we can make to improve it.”

“The key things to me were that we first of all made sure the service continues, but secondly that we kept people in employment and secured their jobs.”

Steve Fritchley, Bolsover district council leader

“The key things to me were that we first of all made sure the service continues for the benefit of our residents, but secondly that we kept people in employment and secured their jobs. We have managed to do both these things in a matter of days and we can now look to develop the service and provide more recycling opportunities for our residents.

Bolsover cabinet member for streetscene, Cllr Deborah Watson added that now the council had “swiftly secured” the continuation of its recycling service, its main focus will be on improving the service.

A statement from the company is expected in the coming days.

Company names 

[updated 25 February] The company reported on above, Ward Recycling Ltd, registered in Northallerton, has no connection with Donald Ward Ltd. Donald Ward, operations director of Donald Ward Ltd, said: “While we are very sorry to hear of the reported difficulties faced by Hartlepool-based Ward Recycling Limited and its subsequent contract with Bolsover district council, we can confirm that this is not related to our business in any way.

Donald Ward added: “We want to reassure our colleagues, clients and partners that Donald Ward Limited, trading as Ward Recycling and widely known as Ward, is very much open for business. Our bulk metal recycling and waste management operations continue to provide essential services to key industries and supply chains including building, construction, healthcare and manufacturing.”

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