VEKA, one of my companies to watch in 2018, has announced that it is to build from scratch a third PVCu recycling plant right here in the UK. More specifically, in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. In what will be another boost to UK manufacturing and job creation, it comes at a time when scrutiny on plastics in the world is becoming a lot stronger.
As the anti-plastic movement grows, this is one good forward step towards combating that.
Good for jobs, construction and recycling
The news originally broke on Plastic News Europe. If you click here you can read their original report in full. But in the report, it says that VEKA is to invest £8m in the project in Wellingborough. This will be a new plant, built from scratch.
So before we come onto the green credentials of the project, consider for a moment the economic benefits. £8m in a custom built recycling facility is no small potatoes. This will be their fourth recycling facility, to add to the processing plant in Kent, their factory in Vendeuvre Sur Barse in France, and their large facility in Behringen in Germany. This new Wellingborough facility will bring total capacity in tonnage across the company past the 100,000 per year mark.
A factory like this will create hundreds of new jobs, and add extra support to the local economy of Wellingborough, with the trickle-down effect creating more jobs in the town. It adds an extra boost to UK construction, at a time where we need as much of it as possible. And this is a sign, that despite ongoing matters with the EU, there is still potential in the UK for European and other companies around the world.
Making the first move
As we have seen, the anti-plastic movement is growing. And quite rightly, lets not get that wrong. The misuse of plastic has done a great deal of harm to the very place we all have to live in. I have written recently that it won’t be long before the attention of the media and the public turn towards PVCu windows and doors.
The PVCu industry has a right to exist. But it also has an obligation to operate in a sustainable and as environmentally friendly way as possible. I sense VEKA see this, and with the UK being a huge market for the material, they understand that it is right to build this new recycling plant here in the UK. And make no mistake, the spotlight will at some point soon turn to PVCu windows and doors.
This new Wellingborough facility will be able to take virgin and post-consumer materials, with all parts attached minus the glass. It can also take all profiles, not just VEKA products. The new recycled material will be able to be turned into new window and door profiles, as well as trims and cills. The report on PNE also states that VEKA intends to use the most up to date technology within the plant. So expect this new UK facility to be the new leader within the group.
VEKA are making the first move here, and they want to get ahead of the game both for environmental and business reasons. They know that they have to be seen to be making PVCu a much more climate friendly material. They also know that as the green economy grows, there is money to be made. If they can sow up the mass majority of PVCu recycling, get ahead of anyone else who is even thinking about expanding their own market share, they can squeeze as much revenue out of recycling PVCu as possible.
What this also means is more recycled profile is going to be in circulation in the UK market. Fabricators and installers cannot hide away from it much longer. Virgin PVCu is at some point going to become a dirty word, whether you agree with the premise or not. The whole of the PVCu supply chain needs to quickly get used to the idea of using recycled materials. When the general public changes it’s mind on something, it’s wise to move with the times than to resist it.
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