Fishing News readers may have noticed a classified ad in recent weeks from a company seeking used polystyrene boxes for recycling. Anything that reduces waste, cost and carbon footprint in the industry can only be a good thing – so FN invited John Rennie, operations manager at Volker Gruppe Ltd, to explain more about its operation.
He told us: “EPS (expanded polystyrene) is virtually 100% recyclable. Volker Gruppe Ltd is the UK’s largest recycler of EPS waste and scrap material. The company supplies recycling services to the fishing industry, supporting the uptake of EPS recycling from the fish processing sector of the industry and the recovery of EPS waste from the supply and logistics chain.
“In October 2017, Volker Gruppe established its own EPS recycling facility, building on its market knowledge, and began expanding its recycling services into what is now the UK’s largest EPS recycler, recycling over 6,000t a year. We also offer EPS compaction equipment to customers for the compaction and recycling of the material. We have a fully integrated logistics department and procurement team that operates the day-to-day running of the business.
“We will happily accept EPS boxes or scrap, but for collection of scrap EPS we may have to recover transport costs for smaller quantities. Whilst we are in no way a machinery rental business, we do have a range of EPS compactors available, and can supply these to fishmarkets if their volumes of EPS waste justify it.
“The compactors mean that we can reduce the volume of the boxes by a factor of 40-50:1, as EPS fish boxes are 98% air, hugely reducing transport and storage costs of compacted material.
“We can also do this in a way that all market users can benefit from. For example, we have a longstanding relationship with City Property Markets in Blochairn, Glasgow, one of the largest fish, fruit and vegetable markets in the UK, with vendors and wholesalers on their huge site. We supply a compactor to them, and also service their loose and bulk uplifts of EPS as part of the arrangement.
“The EPS we recycle goes into building products, with up to 70% recycled content, but it is not just the recycling element which has environmental benefits. Compaction on site also results in much reduced freight and storage costs, which is of benefit to everyone along the value chain.”
To complement and strengthen Volker Gruppe’s EPS recycling activities and progression, the business is now part of the BEWI group, with BEWI owning a 51% stake in the business. With the acquisition of Volker Gruppe, it has strengthened its already vast portfolio of businesses and increased its foothold in the wider recovery and recycling of EPS waste in the UK and Europe.
This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.