Plastics recycler, rotational molder and pipe extruder JFC Manufacturing Ltd. is raising capacity dramatically at a recently acquired bottle recycling plant.
JFC, based in Tuam, Ireland, is investing around £3 million ($5.5 million) to raise capacity at the Delleve Plastics Ltd. plant in St. Helens, England. When the project is finished in three years, the plant will have capacity to reprocess 44 million pounds of plastic per year, up from the current 17.6 million pounds.
The company uses recycled plastic to make drainage pipe, said founder and Managing Director John Concannon.
JFC bought Stratford-upon-Avon, England-based Delleve Plastics last year. Delleve recycles polyethylene and PET bottles. With the expansion, the unit will be the largest plastics recycler in Britain, according to JFC. The country only reprocessed a total of about 55 million pounds of post-consumer bottles in 2003, the company said.
``The potential for expansion in [bottle recycling] is huge and the markets for the corrugated pipes across Europe are also growing at an enormous rate, as they are fast replacing concrete pipes in construction and drainage projects,'' Concannon said.
Britain has a lower bottle recycling rate than other European countries. While 62 percent of British municipalities collect plastic bottles, just 5.5 percent of waste bottles are recycled, due mainly to collection and sorting costs, according to Waste & Resources Action Programme, a British government-backed, not-for-profit company that develops markets for recycled material.
WRAP provided a grant of more than £1 million ($1.8 million) to the Delleve expansion. The investment includes automated sorting equipment that separates bottles by color and density.
JFC bought Delleve because Concannon saw an opportunity to secure the business through a capital injection to introduce new technology and expand capacity.
``We are pleased with our progress to date. We want to expand our business. If we had not have turned things around, the Delleve business wouldn't work well there today,'' he said.
Delleve has produced corrugated pipe from recycled bottles for years, and last year invested £1.2 million ($2 million) to install a new Corma extrusion line. The machine makes twin-wall corrugated pipe up to 23.6 inches in diameter. Together the Delleve plants have three pipe extrusion lines.
JFC also plans to install a corrugated pipe extrusion line at its Tuam headquarters plant. That unit will be fed by recycled material from the United Kingdom operations, Concannon said. JFC's main business remains rotomolding, and it operates five machines in Tuam producing PE tanks and heavy-duty containers.
JFC also has a rotomolding plant in Radzymin, Poland, which started production two months ago, following an investment of 3 million euros ($3.6 million). It employs 10.