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WHAT WE DO
Green Recycling was formed to challenge the way waste disposal is handled in the UK. Rather than dumping unwanted resources in land fill, we opt to recycle waste so these resources are available for the next generation. Our team are experts in waste management and rubbish collections for business and the commercial sectors.
- Waste disposal
- Commerical and business waste
- Wheelie Bins
- REL (Rear End Loader)
- FEL (Front End Loader)
- 1100 / 240/ 6 yard / 8 yard / 40 yard
- Materials we recycle
- Hardcore (bricks & rubble)
Green Recycling install 5 new groundbreaking TOMRA Autosort optical sorters.
Having struggled for sometime to get pickers to work efficiently on our separation lines, we made the decision to invest in some exciting new technology to increase our recycling rates and reduce waste residues.
In August we took delivery and 3 weeks later they were underway. Using state of the art NIR (near infrared technology) combined with clever air sensors, these 5 new legendary sorting machines provide an outstanding sorting performance.
The autosort machines use TOMRA's trademarked Flying beam and Sharp Eye technology to identify material colour and classification of previously inseparable materials.
This means we can now very efficiently sort waste such as plastic bottles, tubs and trays from paper, cardboard, film, thermoplastics and residual waste. Wood, inert materials and rigid polymers can also be separated.
In addition ferrous metals are easily detected and sorted. We can control and monitor all of this digitally and look at the data in real time - to make any changes or tweaks we feel necessary.
"The TOMRA sorters turned up on the premises in all their Blue and Orange splendour and we worked tirelessly to get them installed. Since then we have been able to really improve our recycling rates and reduce the amount of residual waste that we create." Rob Smith Managing Director.
Our customers love it because we re-use and recycle so much more of their waste.
COVID 19 /Coronavirus
As an essential service, Green recycling is currently business as usual.
We want to service all customers throughout this troubling time.
A massive thank you to our drivers and staff who are battling on regardless. All drivers are alone in their cabs, and are told to not approach customers or come into the office at the end of their round. We have a skeleton staff in the office and have others working from home. We wish everyone well, hope you are safe and well, and we are looking forward to getting back to normality later in the year. In the meantime, if you are still working in the food sector, hospitals, nursing homes, and all other essential services, we are here for you.
The whole Green Recycling team.
New Lorry - Won't be shiny for long!
We started the new year, with a new skip lorry - which was straight out to work on the 2nd January.
We have also added to our Roll on Roll off fleet, with the delivery of 2 new units this week.
Lots happening on site this year, as we are delighted that planning has been approved - so its full steam ahead with our new build plans.
What happens to your Rubbish - read Jamie's interview with the Guardian
Read the article here:https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/17/plastic-recycling-myth-what-really-happens-your-rubbish
Expanding our team and growing the fleet.
This month we have welcomed two new members of staff to our team and 2 new vehicles to our fleet. Welcome to the Green Recycling Family!
We always have room for new recruits, if you are looking for a job as a driver, or in our yard or office, please get in touch by giving us a call 01621 842600.
2022, a really really busy year!!18 October 2022
Since my last Rob's ramblings, the year has gone by in a flash. All of our client's offices, factories and shops seem to be very buoyant meaning that the amount of waste and recycling is the highest it has ever been in our 21 years of business.
Our staff have done a fantastic job looking after all the super busy and demanding customers. We have a full complement of drivers and all the talk of the massive driver shortage has gone away. Thank goodness.
We have seen a huge increase in our direct costs this year. The amount that we have to pay per ton to get rid of our residual waste is up by 25%!!! Also the ban on red diesel for all our onsite machinery has added another big cost to us. We can now only use normal road type white diesel in our processing machines, shredders, forklifts etc. This has cost us as a business around £7000 per month alone. It is not an understatement to say that we have had our biggest year for increased costs. We have had to pass some of this on to our customers who I think are now used to the cost of almost everything going up.
At the time of writing, we are just beginning to see an easing of supply line shortages. We are now being offered trucks and machinery that had previously gone out to a 2 to 3 year wait. Also because the price of steel has gone down the price of skips and bins is coming down a bit from a massive high point this summer. We have six new trucks in the pipeline for delivery this year and next. We have a Dustcart on order for September 2023 and today I was told that if I don't sign the order today that we would miss our slot for the 2023 year, so not everything has eased up!! We just have to be more organised and order further in advance.
2022 is the year that the straw broke the camel's back with regards to unskilled labour. We really struggle to get pickers to pick waste from our recycling line. First we paid much more money, but the staff were late, slow and just didn’t want to be here. I even had a mutiny one break time where a spokesperson for the pickers demanded an extra £2 per hour for staff, or they would go home. This wasn’t great timing as our 5 new TOMRA autosort, 2.8m wide, optical sorters had just arrived in their dark blue and orange splendour.
We had to get these installed fast, which we set about doing and myself and a team of 3 hard-working and highly skilled fabricators got them in position and working in 3 weeks. One thing we didn’t take into account was the amount it costs a recycling business to effectively shut the doors for this time. When you have to send material to other locations you have to pay the gate fee and you lose the revenue for the materials. So time was of the essence.
These are now automatically sorting film, plastics, paper, card, wood, rigid plastics and we have a new magnet on ferrous metals. We only have one "picker" and one operator mainly checking the fully automated process. This has really improved our recycling rates, reduced labour costs, and reduced the amount of residual waste that we create.
Speaking of new machinery, this year was my first visit to the IFAAT waste and recycling show in Munich. I would like to say a massive thank you to the RHA (Road Haulage Association) waste group who organised this trip. The show was absolutely enormous with all of the very latest innovation and tech that our industry has to offer. After 35,000 steps that day I was pleased to sample the local brew!
Materials prices have been strong all of 2022, up until the last month when a paper and card have plummeted from over £100 per ton to around £30 per ton. Lots of paper mills just cannot operate with the huge rise in energy prices.
Iron has been up-and-down but it is remaining strong at the moment at £150 per ton. Our commodity basket price is £70 per ton per ton, which is about average. What I can’t work out is the price to get rid of wood is still high (£20-£40 per ton). If it is going to be burnt in a power station and energy created/sold, then surely we shouldn’t be paying to get rid of it. Maybe this winter, our waste wood will become a commodity, not a minus. This year will go down as a good one. There is lots of talk about a downturn ahead. At the moment we are investing in our business and making hay while the sun shines. If there are dark times ahead, we will roll with the punches as and when it happens. Brexit has gone away, the Covid chat has gone away. I hope we can get on with a positive 2022 and into 2023.
Well, it’s not straightforward but it certainly is busy and I believe we face more challenges than ever before (challenges equals problems!!)21 January 2022
The massive positive is the strength of the economy and the pots of furlough cash/business support grants seem to be still in the system, we have seen a lot less companies going bust than normal and the industrial sector is very busy, this means more bins, more recycling, more waste and that Green Recycling is busier than ever.
Our staff have been fantastic, hard-working and loyal. Our drivers are in demand from the shortage of truck drivers that peaked in the middle of 2021 - that pressure has wained slightly and the ever upward wage pressure has abated for now. If you want to keep/recruit new drivers you have to pay great money, give them the right tool for the job and be flexible. We have a great team spirit and morale is very high.
Staff sickness has been a massive issue we’ve had at least two drivers a week off over the December/January period with Covid this puts them out for a minimum of a week - it is just something that we have to manage. This has been a great opportunity for me to get back to the floor! I had two weeks on dustcarts in the summer and have just had a week out on the frontend loader. This has been a huge eye-opener for me. Not only to see how hard the guys work; long hours, early starts, wind and rain, but to see how complex the world of taco cards, handheld PDA tablets, and the technology is.
I certainly learned a lot (and also got offered some cash to take extra waste - don’t tell the boss!!)
I have to say our new Scania trucks are fantastic and comfortable to drive.
Having the right tool for the job is essential. We’ve come away from old fashion double drive axles (which used to be an essential when tipping on landfill) to real steer wheels. This makes getting in and out of tight jobs so much easier, the fuel economy is much better and it is cheaper on the maintenance of the vehicle. (RTM). It is this progression that makes it cheaper and easier to run our fleet.
Supply line shortages – we just can’t get anything!!
Trucks - We have four on order for this year which is great but we ordered these over 18 months ago, we currently can’t put an order in for a new truck because the order book is not open. This is the first time I’ve ever had this happen. It is the same for parts, compactors and consumables. We have had to plan ahead even more than usual to keep the wheels rolling.
Along with the supply restriction prices have also risen sharply. A great example of this is the price of a 6yd skip to buy.
This used to be around £400 for a brand-new skip, now this is just under £1000. Now that is inflation!! Diesel fuel has risen also but not by anywhere near as much. In April 2022 we also have the banning of red diesel for plant and machinery. This is a cheaper diesel (tax) with a red dye in it for use in off road construction, agricultural, generators etc. This will add about £5000 per month to our fuel bill - inflation is definitely a worry for 2022.
Recycling Equipment - We have continue to invest in our recycling plant. Alongside MAX the robot we now have an TOMRA auto-sort paper and cardboard (OCC) optical sorter. This is doing a fantastic job of sorting out the paper and card from the two-dimensional waste. We have also installed an IMT ballistic separator, which separates the waste further, making it easier to identify and recycle. The wages of the human pickers is continuing to rise fast and the simple fact is that we just can’t get people to sort through the waste.
2022 is going to be a year of further automation to recycle more with less manual picking.
We are also installing a BINDER screen at the start of our process, to size the incoming material 1) 0 - 50 mm 2) 50 - 400 mm 3) 400mm +
This will make the materials easier to handle and help us automate the process.
On a positive note: Materials prices, (the amount of money that we get for the stuff we recycle) are very strong.
OCC/card is over the magic £100 per ton mark.
Mix paper is strong, as is steel, iron scrap which reached £160 per ton at one point.
Glass jumped up at the end of December, (linked to the PRN, packaging recovery note price). Plastic hasn’t wanted to follow suit but has reluctantly started to follow the others. It has just started an upward trend. I believe that plastics will be the market to watch in 2022. There is the new government initiative to use more recycled plastic in new products which should raise the prices of quality recycled materials.
Our commodity basket has risen well in 2021.
Let’s hope we have no more restrictions put on us by Covid. This is especially important for the hospitality sector, which is a part of our wide customer base make up. We live in uncertain, challenging, exciting times. We are busy and have an unrelenting urge to keep working, keep improving in 2022 and beyond.
It’s a positive start to 2022, full of optimism.
PS it was a great to have a proper old school Christmas lunch and beers together again.
I started writing my update blog all doom and gloom about COVID.30 January 2021
Then I ripped it up and thought about all the great stuff that the waste / recycling /transport industries do.
Businesses in our sector are heroes.
We are key-workers / essential workers and we clear up and recycle the nation's waste.
It is great that we have been able to keep the wheels rolling, and I am very proud that as a company we have not had to furlough any staff.
I believe that the hospitality industry has been hit hardest and does not get anywhere near the support (i.e funding money) that it should to help them through this period. We are being very flexible with our hospitality customers to help them survive this period. In this latest lockdown, many restaurants and pubs are doing a good trade with take-a-ways using great innovations and business acumen.
We have had to adapt our business and really look at the waste that we throw away / can't recycle. We have made ourselves busier, and saved costs by recycling more than ever. This is good for the for the environment and saves us money as a business so we can keep everyone busy. The downside to this is how labour intensive waste picking is. It also brings home how expensive labour is and that good pickers are hard to find (especially local ones).
We have now had our picking robot MAX AI for 3 years (please see our robot video that has now had 22.5K views)
We were at the very forefront of this technology and the first in the UK to have this type of robotic sorting. We wanted to put into practice our vision to achieve higher purity levels of recyclable materials. Since then, many recycling companies have taken a similar path in pursuit of this vision.
Only recently, I read about city planners granting permission to a large MRF company made up of 8 partner councils, in the Midlands, that will use AI powered robots and they project a throughput of 47.5 tonnes per hour of mixed dry recyclables.
MAX is running well for us, but needs a lot of hand holding, filters cleaning and pipes cleaning, but it is the future of waste/recycling in the UK. This is mainly because of our expensive labour costs and people just not wanting to pick through waste.
We have had out new IMT ballistic separator delivered in Dec 20 but as I write this, the manufacturer cannot send me the technicians over to commission it because of travel restrictions. The new machine will allow us to further separate waste into 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional items. This will allow MAX the robot to see the 3D items easier and increase pick rates.
A 2 dimensional (2D) piece of material is a flat object that grips the ballistic (for example a piece of card or paper). A 3 dimensional (3D) item rolls off of the back of the machine as it has more mass, shape (for example a plastic bottle or can or turnip).
We are looking forward to getting it running, maybe in MARCH!!
Boris has got us a last minute Brexit deal and it seems to be a good one. Hopefully we can all move forward as a powerhouse in the world. This deal should allow trouble free recycling exports but quite a lot more paperwork. This deal should also be good for retaining any foreign labour that is used in recycling centres throughout the country.
The markets for our products, paper, card, wood, glass, metals, plastic, food wastes, has been steady and quite unremarkable.
Plastic prices have just taken a turn for the worst with the news that mixed rigid plastics have to stay in the UK to be re-processed. Card is average to strong, steel scrap is up above three figures at £110 per ton, so there are some signs of good demand for our recyclables.
Glass is steady but low at sub £10per ton, what happened to the days when the PRN was high and we got £75/ ton for glass for over a year?
Our commodity basket price (the price for all of our saleable materials combined)
used to be over £100/ton for my first 10 years in business. Now it is well below £50 / ton average.
Machinery news - We have traded in our two Liebheer LH22 machines and got 2 brand new shiny ones in Nov 20. The new machines use less fuel and give a great view for the machine operators. They have air conditioning / heating, listen to radio 2 all day, in fact I might swap jobs for a few days.
The big news is that we have completed our new big shed. Thanks to Shufflebottom buildings and RJ Riggall groundwork. It is 90m long and 40m wide and give us plenty of room to sort. We have a brand new EA permit and we have a second weigh bridge to get the trucks in and out quicker. It has cleaned up the whole site, allowed us to get all operations under cover (certainly less mess, dust and seagulls).
My only real mention of COVID 19 is going to be the great news that my 2 oldest staff members, my mum (Jean) and Dad (Bob) are both over 80 and have had their 2 jabs each. They work in the business everyday, mum on the weigh-bridge (and lunch) and Dad in the yard tooting for old bits of metal. They have worked throughout this and are now immune! to Covid 19.
I think that we are at a low point with it all and the cold and sideways rain certainly doesn't help.
We will get through this and come out stronger and wiser.
Here's to a healthy and safe 2021.
P.S looking forward to Summer.
I think we are through it? Are we? Aren't we? What's ahead?19 June 2020
Today, 19th June 2020 - the COVID risk level has been reduced from level 4 to level 3 - Great News.
The government had told many sectors to close from mid March. This has meant that we have had to suspend services to 550 customers, mainly pubs, clubs and restaurants. We have seen a 30% reduction in turnover and much less waste coming into our plant for recycling.
Drivers - A massive, huge thank you to all of our staff and in particular our front line drivers who have carried on with a smile on their faces. Those office staff that could work from home have done so, but many have been in the office to keep our business afloat and help us maintain collections for hospitals, food providers and all essential services.
Over the last few weeks the work is slowly returning to normal, more businesses opening. Even the pubs are opening for take away services. For many, this will be the final push to normality, going to the pub.
Did we miss the COVID in our part of Essex? Thankfully, our area does not seem to have been effected by this terrible disease. Essex Live, using the office of national statistics data, quoted that the least affected region in Essex is Maldon, with just 18 Corona Virus deaths per 100,000. So lets hope we can get back to normal asap.
We have had over 12 drivers giving us their CVs in the last 2 weeks. It seems that a lot of people have been made redundant already. Other waste industry leaders that I have spoken to have already cut staff, unfortunately, this maybe the biggest and most long term consequence of COVID 19.
My hope is that we can quickly bounce back as a country and keep the economy and the confidence building.
Getting rid of our residual waste has been no problem and because of a serious reduction in commercial waste being created the "burners" (waste to energy facilities) have been asking for more tonnage to help fill the void. This is only for a stop gap and I really believe that we need more UK waste infrastructure so that the UK deals with our own waste and we don't export as much to Europe and further afield. There was even a development for an Essex Waste to Energy plant that was given the green light by EA (Environmental Agency) this week, so this seems to be going in the right direction.
The market and prices for materials have tailed off a little, plastics falling around £20 - £30 per ton.
Cardboard has been on a roller-coaster from £10 /ton at Christmas to £150 per ton for 1 week during lockdown and now back to more realistic £60 / ton. The main reason for the huge rise was uncertainty of European stocks. The cardboard mills did not know where the next loads were coming from and raised the prices to guarantee supply. It was great for that week though!
Today, also, the RHA announced that MOT test for trucks will resume from early July. What will happen about the ones that have been missed though? Another COVID question. I foresee we will slowly get back to normal over the next few weeks and months, but will the economy? Unemployment? More people working from home?
On a positive note we have started building out new waste/plastic recycling centre, more news on that next time.
All the best
Brexit seems like a distant dream.....25 March 2020
...that we have woken up from and surfaced into something far more menacing.
Coronavirus/COVID 19 is a worldwide problem that none of us have ever seen before.
Business has its ups and downs but this is real life shutdown for many.
In my last blog I predicted green shoots for 2020, and, I believe that they started to arrive. Things were on the up, everyone was positive in business, then the news started to come from Wuhan.
At first it was just another disease on the other side of the world. Now within 6 weeks our country is in lockdown. This has the potential for huge loss of life and an economic disease that could last much longer than the pandemic. At Green Recycling we are classed as essential workers, essential because if we do not go out and collect the waste then we will have waste mounting up, vermin and disease on our streets. We have had lots of thanks and appreciation from our customers, hospitals, old people's homes and schools, who still need the rubbish to be collected. Its times like this that makes me really proud of our staff who are just getting on with it. We are still busy to date because some of the hospitals and food service customers are busier than ever. The amount of domestic waste will also increase dramatically as everyone is at home. We have been doing some contingency planning with a local council to help out if needs be.
One huge tragic loss is to the hospitality industry. The pubs, clubs and resteraunts, have to close by law. This has meant that over 150 of our long term contracted customers are stopping our waste collection services. How many of these will re open ? However many it is, we will be there to carry on the service when they do open. What no-one knows, is how long the lockdown is going to last, 2 months or 6 months? Lets wait and see.
I would like to thank our materials and disposal outlets for supporting us in this difficult time and remaining open . Without a place to take our materials to sell, and, our waste to dispose of we would be really in trouble.
Currently the materials prices are steady with some good news on Cardboard ( OCC) which was on its knees at £0 per ton at Christmas. This is now back to a still bad but much better £25 per ton.
Paper grades , mixed , newspaper and magazines and white paper is really in the duldrums. Will the Coronavirus lead to panic buying of materials and therefore higher prices over Easter. ? Lets hope that we do see some steady increases , but what our Industry needs more than ever is strong stable prices for recycled materials.
The wheels are still turning on our transport fleet. We are in the strange position that for the first time in our 20 year history, we cannot MOT trucks!!! The MOT test centres have closed because of the Coronavirus. We are still having our trucks regularly serviced and inspected, its more important than ever that we have safe reliable trucks (Thanks to Truckeast Witham for keeping us on the road with our fleet of Scanias) .
I believe that it will get quieter over the next month as more businesses close down, and a lot is going to change in the world. We are going to keep our heads down, keep working the best we can and carry on recycling.
All the best, keep your friends and families safe, Robert.
December 2019 and outlook of 202020 January 2020
No more Brexit chat - what a result!
I would like to thank The RHA (Road Haulage Association) Waste and Recycling group for some inspiration behind this blog !!!08 November 2019
October and November saw lots of negativity about Brexit. Brexit will make buying trucks 16.5% more expensive, and make any new parts to be delivered to the uk more expensive, but will this in turn develop new industry within the UK to make us more self sufficient?
We currently export 3.6 million tonnes of Waste/ Fuel (RDF) to Europe, if there are more border controls in place, then that waste material may be stuck in the UK and present a problem. I see that this is an issue, short term a massive problem, but in the medium term, if this means the UK gets more waste infrastructure to deal with its own waste and we can create electricity from it, surely that self sufficiency is a good thing? We certainly need more outlets to recycle and process our own waste . Exporting this around the world is madness.
Next up is the Residual waste disposal crisis. We have seen an increase of upto 10% on the amount it costs us to get rid of our residual waste - this has been seen throughout the industry. We also rely on 14% of our residual waste in the UK going to Europe. Holland are putting a levy on receiving refuse derived fuel ( RDF) from other countries. RDF exports to Holland will face a tax of 32 Euros per tonne that will come into force in January, so that will surely slow down the amount of waste that Holland will take from the UK. Prices will also be rising in April when the landfill tax goes up again. Testing times, and further encouragement for us to reduce, re use and recycle.
Paper recycling - we are currently struggling to get rid of our mixed paper grades, material we were getting £100 per tonne for (2 years ago), we are struggling to get £5 per ton for !!!!
Cardboard prices are down another £20 a tonne, to £30 per tonne - this has been as high as £140 per tonne within the last year.
On the opposite side of the coin is plastics. We have seen an increase of £200 per tonne for our mixed plastic bottles and our mixed film grades. We don't know why this has happened there is no rhyme or reason for it, but there is currently really strong demand for plastics. Quality is the key here, if the materials are really clean and well presented, with no contamination, we can achieve the best market rates.
We also have the "Greta effect" where we're being asked more and more by our customers to seperate waste, they want to be seen to be recycling more and to have more social and corporate responsibility. This is good news for us - we can put more bins out - the customer separates waste better, giving us a cleaner, higher grade of material, that we can then recycle and sell on. Greta is getting people from all walks of life talking about recycling. This can only be a cause for good.
Finally, good news on wood recycling.!! There is a really strong market for wood at the moment, the Northern European market is demanding wood for power stations this winter. This means the price to dispose of wood, (that we have pay) is going down, so that's good news for us and we can pass these savings on to our customers.
So its a real mixed bag - a lot of negative stuff (Paper and Car) and some good stuff (Plastics and wood).
But that is what we do in the waste industry, we are always juggling the good and the bad and chasing the prices where ever we can.
My first Blog!02 October 2019
Hi My name is Rob Smith.
I am the MD of Green Recycling.
Driving dustcarts, delivering skips, dealing bins and trading waste - is in my blood. My grandfather was in the rubbish business back in 1947 and he went on to start up our first family firm. From 1947 and a 4 wheel Bedford tipper to 2019 a lot has changed, but a lot is still the same. We collect and dispose of other people's waste.
Setting up Green Recycling in 2001 was a proud and momentous time. My mum and dad came to work with me (as they still do today), but its not just a Smith family run business, I like to think that all of our team from the drivers to the office and management team to the guys and girls on the picking line - all feel part of our ever growing Green Recycling family.
I wanted to create a service that focused on getting business waste out of the landfill and into the recycling system. Back then, being green was innovative and fairly idealistic. But I knew with my lifelong experience, growing up in the waste management world along with my entrepreneurial itch to run a successful business, that somehow, I could set up to make a profit and be as forward thinking and environmentally conscious as possible.
We were recently interviewed by the Guardian who did a very insightful article on what actually happens to your waste and investigates the complex idiosyncrasies of the recycling trade, the laws, procedures, restrictions and markets. Like any business our first concern is to make enough money to keep going, to pay our staff and suppliers, cover our overheads and maintenance bills and to keep up with safety standards. Our values and concerns for the environment are clearly part of our vision statement and as a result its something we continually strive for and invest in.
I thought that I could help to de mystify the world of waste by starting this blog - and just have a corner of our website to vent my ramblings really, I hope you find it interesting, I'd be happy to get your opinions and comments back.
Here are a few subjects I'll be covering in my blog over the next few months:
Card and paper prices falling hard
Plastic bottles price on the rise
Metal down 35%
Driver safety on third party sites
Planning process for future development..
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