Boosting asset value and CSR credentials with container repair

Written by: Emma Elston | Published:
UKCM's CEO Emma Elston

In recent years there has been a shift back to the remanufacture and restoration of steel bins in the industry, due to the recyclability, durability and cost-efficiency of the material.

We can now easily refurbish metal containers, which subsequently means a longer life for the containers, a low-cost solution for UK businesses and a significant reduction in the manufacture of plastic containers – a positive step forward for the environment.

Currently there is a significant amount of waste, in terms of resources and costs, which in turn can damage the environment with both needless extraction and disposal. Coupled with this is the mounting pressure on all industries to transform their corporate social responsibility policies to meet growing government targets and decreasing budgets.

When looking at waste containers, the substantial cost-saving potential is released by restoring the damaged units to full working order, and in many cases enhancing the build at the same time to create increased asset value.

Typically manufacturers give containers a lifespan of approximately seven years or under; however, here at UKCM we take great pride in restoring containers 20, 30 and even 40 years old – substantially increasing the asset value and register of your old and current container stocks.

Refurbishing containers to a high standard will ensure you are protecting and future-proofing your investment.

Our initiative, called Beef Up Your Bins, demonstrates the importance of strengthening containers. It was created by our senior technical team to ensure that containers which have received an intense amount of wear and tear are refurbished accordingly.

Our specialist team identify problem areas that are in need of extra reinforcement such as front panels, rear wheel and castor bracket areas. These areas of containers often become weak when repaired and so it is important that reinforcing plates are fitted to the castor bracket areas and bash plates to the front corners of the panels, to avoid the corner floor areas buckling and also to prevent structural damage so that containers can be manoeuvred easily.

Waste containers are at the forefront of businesses and in the public domain, so it is essential for them to be maintained to the highest safety standards. Providing regular maintenance and container audits ensures they are fully operational and safe while you continue to protect your investment for the future.

UKCM invests heavily into the research and development of technical services to make sure we are maximising the potential of each container. This allows us to offer the very best service to our customers and in turn extend the longevity of their products – preventing them from being thrown on the scrap heap.

Across our 20 years-plus trading, we have saved our customers over £250m with the repair and refurbishment of a notable 1.5 million waste and recycling containers. These savings are calculated on the basis that the reconditioning of a waste container is a third of the price of buying a new one.

Last year was our 20th anniversary year and the most significant to date, with demand for our services continuing to grow. We decided to develop the company further, investing a substantial capital investment in the purchase of a more efficient and enhanced environmentally responsible vehicle fleet with updated, eye-catching livery, and the move to our new state-of-the art 80,000 sq ft factory to keep up with the demand for our services.

The new facility houses a full refurbishment plant including wash, shot blast, spray, fabrication and repair and modification booths, as well as an impressive container testing facility, plus additional space to increase capacity and develop the business.

The most recent investments in our new industry-leading facility, new vehicle fleet and expanded workforce will allow for further improvements to our customer offering, and facilitate our continued growth over the next 20 years.

The waste container sector is ever-changing, and in recent years we have seen a direct increase in the awareness of health and safety, with local authorities and waste companies looking for new ways to make their assets safe and keep the public from coming into any potential danger.

We have also seen containers become marketing initiatives for companies and quite rightly so – whether it’s a small waste container kept on the street outside a business, a skip on a lorry or even a 40ft container, they should always be in full working order with defined branding so that businesses can promote themselves further.

The refurbishment of containers has vastly improved, with new techniques and services constantly being introduced so that old units can be made like new again. Looking back over the past few years in particular, there has been a positive change in attitudes towards restoration, with many now being aware of the benefits of restoration and refurbishment and choosing this solution rather than buying new.

As an advocate for all things recycling, I am so proud to see the positive shift in opinion and attitude that the industry has demonstrated and believe the sector as a whole is slowly but surely moving towards a much more ethical and responsible way of working – supporting longer container lifespans. It is an exciting time to be working in the waste industry.

Emma Elston is CEO of UKCM

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