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I started writing my update blog all doom and gloom about COVID.


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.