Global Recycling Day 2021: Celebrating our Recycling Heroes, J&B Recycling

Global Recycling Day was created in 2018 to help recognise, and celebrate, the importance recycling plays in preserving our precious primary resources and securing the future of our planet. It is a day for the world to come together and put the planet first.

Every year, the Earth yields billions of tons of natural resources and at some point, in the not-too-distant future, it will run out. That’s why we must think again about what we throw away – seeing not waste, but opportunity.

The theme of Global Recycling Day 2021 is #RecyclingHeroes. So, we started thinking about who our recycling heroes are… and one name leapt straight to the top of our list: J&B Recycling.

Planning House have worked with J&B Recycling on a number of projects, so we know them well and have a huge amount of admiration for the work they do.

Vikki Jackson-Smith established J&B Recycling in 1998 to diversify from her family’s solid fuel business that was established in the 1970’s by her father Alan Jackson. The decision was taken to look to recycling and waste management, as there were significant synergies with regard to the existing key skills and knowledge of the company and its employees. In diversifying the business, Vikki safeguarded the jobs of the company’s 20 employees and has gone on to develop the company from a small family managed business into a reputable, established recycling and waste management company recognised nationally, now employing over 200 people.

J&B Recycling has developed its business through the building of two Materials Recycling Facilities in Hartlepool, one that now processes all types of waste, whilst the other specialises in kerbside recyclables. The Company handles the collection, processing, and recycling of over 200,000 tonnes of waste materials each year.

In 2014, J&B successfully received a £7.5m investment from the BGF which enabled the business to embark on a major expansion and automation upgrade of its facilities and led to the acquisition of two further sites based at South Tees and Washington. Anticipating that any future success would be based on delivering high quality recyclable materials, the Company secured the growth capital investment from BGF to fund its expansion. BGF are the largest provider of growth capital in the UK. With a fund of £2.5 billion, having BGF as an investor in J&B provides the financial fire-power to further drive expansion and processing capability across the North of England.

Helen Heward has witnessed first-hand the investment J&B Recycling has made in the sector and how quickly the business has grown in recent years.

“We helped J&B Recycling gain approval to vary the conditions at their Washington site in order to increase opening times so that they can operate across Sunderland on a Bank Holiday to be more responsive to need in the area. Waste applications can often be contentious, but it was great at planning committee to hear councillors speak so positively and commend J&B Recycling for their responsible operations”.

“It was also great to receive planning approval for the creation of a completely new site for J&B in Middlesbrough, which will allow for further expansion in the future.”

“Most recently we assisted with the submission of plans that allowed them to erect a new storage shed at their Hartlepool premises for the storage of outputs from sorting kerbside at MRF – such as baled cardboard. This allows them to keep materials dry and significantly reduces risk of escape of litter, dust etc., compared to storing it outside, and generally improves the appearance of the area. The Hartlepool site has also received approval for an extension to the head office facilities to support the on-going expansion of the business.

According to Mark Penny, Commercial Manager at J&B Recycling, “Planning House has been instrumental in obtaining permission for our developments and has managed our applications from beginning to end. We have relied on their expertise to navigate through the planning process and will continue to do so.”

The recent success for J&B comes in spite of a challenging environment in the recycling market caused by low commodity prices, reduced import of materials to China and continued uncertainty due to current and future economic conditions in the UK.

Recycling is a key part of the circular economy, helping to protect our natural resources. Each year the ‘Seventh Resource’ (recyclables) saves over 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions and this is projected to increase to 1 billion tons by 2030. There is no doubt recycling is on the front line in the war to save the future of our planet and humanity.

Chris Pipe, Director of Planning House, is proud to say that Planning House has been able to assist J&B Recycling with their expansion: “It’s amazing to see a local company not just developing a business that has such a huge positive impact on the environment (and planet), but thriving as a business and investing millions of pounds to further enhance their offering. They are without a doubt our #RecyclingHeroes!”