How was 2016 for you?

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
James Lee, managing director of recycling and waste management sack supplier Cromwell Polythene

Thanks to the EU referendum in June affecting exchange rates, and the US presidential election, there is disquiet in the UK business sector. How has this impacted businesses in the waste management industry? RWW speaks to three product suppliers to find out their take on the past 12 months

Refuse collection vehicle and waste compactor specialist Geesinknorba says it has taken a hands-on approach to the fluctuating exchange rates since the Brexit vote and, despite the UK’s economic uncertainty, it has continued to increase its market share and won conquest territory.

UK business director Mick Hill says: “We’ve won a couple of major orders for vehicles to be delivered in tranches over an extended period of nine months or more because of the large numbers involved.

“Since the Brexit vote, however, the exchange rates have been totally unpredictable so we have acted to reassure clients and protect both parties by breaking these deals down into smaller parts with the costs being based on the exchange rates at the delivery time.

“With this proactive approach to business, we’ve been able to continue the success we had in the first six months of the year. We have even added to our product range with the launch of the GeesinkNorba narrow-track vehicle earlier in the summer,” continues Hill.

“It was developed to tackle waste collection in tight, busy, urban streets and came from a collaboration between Geesinknorba, DAF Trucks and the NRG Group,” continues Hill.

“It was based on tried-and-tested kit – a Geesinknorba GPM IV 17m3 narrow body and a trade bin lift, mounted on a DAF LF 280 16tonne chassis.But the addition of a mid- steer axle has made it highly manoeuvrable.

“It combines the collection capacity of a much larger vehicle with the speed and agility on an urban round of a much smaller vehicle and a low-entry cab with great visibility. And it is very competitively priced.”

Plastic perspective

2016 has been a momentous year in more ways than one, according to James Lee, managing director of recycling and waste management sack supplier Cromwell Polythene.

“While we all continue to absorb the effects ofBrexit,especiallythoseofusthattrade internationally, and the full impact of the transitional leadership in the US on UK businesses has yet to be felt, the domestic market has also been characterised by change,”saysLee.

“Key among these in our own business has been the tremendous growth in sales of compostable products, notably food caddy liners, where sales have soared by 60%. Much of this growth is driven by the recognition among local authorities of the potential that food waste offers to boost their recycling performance. The recent WRAP report shows that food waste is the least-collected of its Framework core materials, with only 32% of English councils collecting it separately this year.

“Another major driver this year has been the extension of existing recycling schemes to flats and tenements, one area in which the bins and boxes simply cannot compete with plastic sacks,” adds Cromwell Polythene’s MD.

Changing attitudes

Turning to the magnetic separators and eddy current separators sector, there was a strong demand for these pieces of kit in 2016, according to Simon Ayling, Bunting Magnetics Europe’s managing director, although he says there was a change in attitude from many of the recycling companies.

“Metal separation has always been a cornerstone of recycling, but we are finding that the demands and expectations of the users of Bunting equipment are changing,” explains Ayling.

“Recycling companies need better metal separation to meet the requirements of their customers. Recycled plastic needs to be as metal-free as possible, and recovered metal needs to be purer. Bunting has a duty to produce the equipment to achieve those expected levels of metal separation.”

In 2016, Bunting says it supplied customers with eddy current separators, dual pole overband magnets, high-intensity drum magnets, stainless steel separators, and highly sensitive metal detectors.

"It is good to be able to provide customers with case history information when discussing a metal separator," continues Ayling.“Seeing is believing, as we demonstrated at RWM 2016 and Waste 16. Watching a dual pole overband magnet in action helps explain why the ferrous metal recoveries are higher and purer than standardoverbands.”

Developing export business has been important in the Bunting 2016 sales growth, according to Ayling.

“We have invested in developing a networkofoverseasdistributorsandare now reaping the rewards. Companies that recycle need to separate metal, irrespective of where they are located in Europe. 2017 will be another exciting year,” forecasts the MD

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