Willshee’s invests in Swadlincote ‘state-of-the-art’ MRF

Burton-based Willshee’s Waste and Recycling announced in March that it had opened what it considers to be the “most advanced recycling plant in the Midlands”, following a £10 million investment.

The Swadlincote MRF allows Willshee’s to process an additional 120,000 tonnes per year of mixed wastes

The material recycling facility at the company’s 33-acre site in Swadlincote, South Derbyshire, allows Willshee’s to process an additional 120,000 tonnes per year of mixed wastes from unsegregated containers.

Managing director Dean Willshee said: “This state-of-the-art equipment produces over a third more material that can be reused versus other plant, extracting wood, soil, plastic, metal and rubble from general waste.

“With a process involving three stages of shredding and a sophisticated system of shredding, screening, air separation, magnets, and near-infrared technology, we are able to extract every last piece of recyclable material.

“What is left is made into solid recovered fuel which is then used by manufacturers. Cement works will use SRF in their kilns, for example. The other great thing about SRF is that it is already carbon offset, creating more environmentally friendly energy from waste.”

The Swadlincote MRF is powered by solar panels, with the excess power being sold back to the national grid.


The expansion was made possible with the support of a £5.7 million funding package from Lombard Asset Finance, alongside an investment of the company’s own.

Any residual waste left over after the recycling process is made into solid recovered fuel

Jamie Burke, business development director at Lombard, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to support Willshee’s investment into their new state-of-the-art materials recovery facility, helping to increase productivity and ensure zero waste to landfill.

“Making staged payments as they became due and taking a charge over the plant after commissioning helped support cash flow during the critical development stage. It has been fantastic to help Willshee’s achieve their ambitions and play a part in their continued growth.”

Lombard, part of the NatWest Group, says its funding helped create more than 30 jobs.

Mr Willshee said: “Lombard has offered us a huge amount of support throughout the whole process, allowing us to achieve this next growth milestone for the business. Going forward, we hope that the new facility will help us expand our customer base and increase our contracts with existing customers.”

South Derbyshire

Willshee’s is now in its 37th year and employs more than 100 staff across its Burton and Swadlincote sites. It applied to expand its Swadlincote site in January 2020 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Heather Wheeler, Conservative MP for South Derbyshire, said: “I was delighted to support Willshee’s with their bid to open up this state-of-the-art commercial collection and recycling centre.

“It was a perfect venue, re-purposing an old railhead. Everyone is so alive to the need to recycle nowadays and this is as important for businesses as it is for our homes. Now that it has opened, I wish them every success with this venture.”

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