Recycling firm rises from the ashes to create 75 new jobs
A RECYCLING firm that was gutted by fire has unveiled its mammoth new factory – and says it is just the first step to creating 75 more jobs for Lincolnshire.
AWS Eco Plastics in Hemswell Cliff, near Gainsborough, saw its entire sorting and storage area go up in smoke at the end of August last year.
But yesterday, it showed off its new £13 million plant, which is capable of processing two billion plastic bottles per year.
But staff at the 10-year-old company, which moved to its current home in 2006, say they already have plans for a further £15 million investment that would see 30 extra staff hired, and more work for other local companies.
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Peter Gangsted, chairman of AWS Eco Plastics said: "The fire last year was a major blow, but there was a silver lining to it.
"It allowed us to redevelop and introduce the next-generation machinery that we have today – machinery that is the most sophisticated in the world."
Jonathan Short, managing director of AWS Eco Plastics, said it had been a long 15 months, but now they were back to processing enough bottles every fortnight to fill the Royal Albert Hall.
"In the UK last year, 600,000 tonnes of plastic was consumed, but only 260,000 tonnes was collected for recycling – and we can deal with about 40 percent of that – but there is still a lot being exported to places such as China.
"This plant sorts bottles by colour and composition and at the moment we're 50 per cent larger than our nearest competitor in the UK – and the largest and most technologically advanced plant in Europe.
"We employ 110 people, but we plan to spend £15 million to expand further, from handling 100,000 tonnes per year to 140,000 tonnes – over half the plastic collected in the UK.
"There is huge potential in the UK market and this can only grow as the demand for low-carbon food and drink packaging increases.
"This is a growth industry in which the UK has the potential to be a world-leader, a prime example of the Government's low-carbon economy.
"We are exactly what the Government are looking for as AWS is a successful green company."
Paul Wheatley, head of economic regeneration programmes at Lincolnshire County Council, said AWS was "a hidden asset of Lincolnshire".
He said: "It's therefore really good news that they are up and running again and any expansion plans can only add to this. New jobs are always welcome and employment opportunities in green industries are of particular prestige."