Unique Prisoner Scheme to Capture Low-Grade PVC for Recycling
- 24 March 2012
- Company & Industry News
Prisoners are to capture rising volumes of low-grade PVC in a unique private/public sector social enterprise between a Manchester-based plastic recycling firm and HM Prison Service.
Low-risk offenders will sort, segregate and process the worst-contaminated plastic for further refining by PVC Recycling Ltd, the UK's largest independent PVC recycler, and eventual re-manufacturing into new products by UK-based manufacturers.
Ian Murray, Managing Director of PVC Recycling Ltd, said: "Hand-sorting is part of the initial recycling process for this material, because technology is not available to deliver the quality the manufacturer requires - which is why we have chosen this challenging, but ultimately practical route."
The pioneering scheme was launched in February with a pilot project involving 30 men working up to 37 hours per week at Buckley Hall Prison, Rochdale. Up to four tonnes of material diverted from landfill would be processed at the jail's facilities each day – equivalent to two 40 cubic yard skip deliveries - and sent back to PVC Recycling's Stalybridge plant to create a high quality recyclate.
Once proven, this Business Model could be repeated and rolled out to local 'hubs' throughout the UK – providing a sustainable waste solution and new training/work opportunities for prisoners. Processing this low-grade waste stream close to its origination is the best way of generating return on investment.
Susan Kennedy, Governor of Buckley Hall Prison, said the scheme, part of the Working Prisons Initiative, is working well and providing a great opportunity for prisoners to develop a work ethos within a realistic working environment.
"This not only adds to their resettlement opportunities, but they enjoy the work which helps time to pass quickly. It's a very positive partnership. The Prison Service is keen to work with commercial partners on projects such as enterprises involved in recycling, and develop initiatives that contribute to the wider Green Agenda," she said.
PVC Recycling's innovative processing methods produce a material – chip or melt-filtrated pellet - that is suitable for manufacturing back into everyday products, from equestrian fencing to new PVC windows, plastic building products, such as fascias, soffits and guttering.
Products made from 100% recycled PVC perform exactly the same as those made from virgin material. The carbon footprint of recycling end-of-life PVC products is 94% less than producing the prime equivalent.
Ian added: "This cost-effective scheme addresses rising volumes of low-grade waste PVC that are currently being landfilled at an increasing cost to both the environment and for companies disposing of this unwanted, and hitherto unrecycled, material. It also taps into the unique labour pool that HMPS can supply in terms of sorting, handling and eventually processing a recyclable material to a standard that is fit for purpose for eventual re-manufacturing into new products here."
For more information, contact PVC Recycling on 0161 303 1050 or visit the website at www.pvcrecycling.co.uk.