The recent demise of Iplas came as a shock to many in the recycling sector, especially as the company had seemed so upbeat in recent months. Industry insiders suggested that its focus on construction markets might have been its downfall but the news came out of the blue nonetheless.
So is the plastics recycling sector under threat – are its customer numbers insufficient to be able to support the current range of plays in the sector? Even if that's not the case [and let's hope it's not] I suspect the Iplas news will have had many of its competitors reaching for the smelling salts.
Within days of the Iplas news breaking I read that Jayplas, which recently snapped up the old AstraZeneca site in Loughborough, is creating 50 jobs as part of a six-figure investment programme. There's a plastics recycler that clearly thinks there's a future in waste processing.
So what's the real state of the plastics recycling market? And more importantly, what could improve its fortunes?
According to one industry insider I chatted to the other day, a major step in the right direction would be to have an enforced standard for materials reclamation facilities – not necessarily a single Gold Standard; perhaps a gold, silver and bronze structure?
That way recyclers would know what they were buying – a not unreasonable situation you might think. At present, bales of waste plastic often contain paper, lumps of wood, the odd brick and once in a while a dead fox.
Frankly, that's not acceptable but only legislation will change things.
Anyone fancy lobbying some MPs? It's for a good cause…