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Growth and investment at J&B Recycling 

Tees Valley-based J&B Recycling has recently reported 40% growth, on top of the audited previous year's 100% growth, in challenging and ever-changing markets for their products.

J&B's end products include commodities that are sent on for reprocessing and eventually recycled into new products.

The company's high-quality outputs include sorted card, corrugated cardboard, paper, plastic bottles, plastic films, aluminium cans, steel cans and glass from glass bottles and jars.

Mark Penny, commercial manager at J&B Recycling, said: "Our raw materials are mixed (comingled) kerbside and business recyclables and we process those through a very sophisticated sorting facility which identifies and separates those mixed materials into different sizes, types and grades of outputs. We are constantly upgrading our plants to be able to process more by and improving efficiency."

Last year saw the company celebrate 20 years in business, operating from three sites across the North East and processing 162,000 tonnes of materials from local authority and commercial waste streams, with more than 200 people working within the company.

J&B achieves a high quality of product through ongoing investment to make sure that its sorting processes use the most up-to-date machinery and technologies including optical infrared sorters, magnets and eddy current separators that sort by material type and various other screens that sort by size. 

Its Hartlepool plant had two major upgrades last year, one in January and it has plans for a further upgrade this year to maximise the potential revenue from the sorting of the fibre grades (paper, card and cardboard) from the mixed recyclables.

The firm sells its product across the globe - including Europe and Asia, but much of its product is retained here in the UK. 

Mark said: "There are currently proposals being floated that could see companies needing to pay a tax if the packaging they produce doesn't contain a minimum % of recycled content. This should increase demand for recycled materials.

"The ongoing upgrades on plant equipment become necessary as material make up changes and the new technology is designed to add flexibility to our operations.

"We can handle different input streams with ease, whether it is fully comingled, comingled without glass, triple or dual stream, we can offer maximum recovery of the recyclable content. 

J&B has recently announced it will be further expanding its workforce with a number of positions available.

Mark continued: "We consider our process as manufacturing and producing the highest quality materials, so we require highly skilled operatives and engineers to design, install, operate and maintain the production plant to ensure maximum throughput and quality of output.

"Attracting a skilled workforce can be hard as there's still a perception and image problem. Previously people turned their nose up at the waste industry, but this is changing, it can be a good career with great prospects.

"We have a very low turnover of staff here at J&B - it's a growing business and a growing industry. Due to the nature of society and demand for new things there's always going to be waste to deal with."

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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