Whale Saving

Do you remember the BBC documentary about the whale that became stranded near a small Norwegian community on a Fjord somewhere? They had to shoot it and found its stomach was full of plastic that had caused it to starve.

I was upset about that and also with the images shown of 200L HDPE barrels floating at the shoreline, because we use that sort of barrel and so we share a responsibility for its ultimate disposal. We use all sorts of plastic containers, both to contain the products that we make for people and for the products that we use to mix and pack stuff. This a big global problem, we need to use the plastic containers but we have to prevent them from reaching the sea.

Later, after the birth of my grandson, I had one of those imaginary conversations with him. He asked me “Grandad, did you ever kill any whales with your plastic waste?”

I want to be able to say “no” to that question. So, I have initiated a project at Grotech Production in which we will grind all of the plastic waste generated in the business, wash it and supply it into an appropriate recycling stream. The stream that appeals to me most is as a binder in the manufacture of asphalt in road making. This makes a better road surface with its own environmental advantages.

Having made the commitment to myself and obtained the buy-in from my fellow Directors we need to set up the project and start to do something rather than talk about it. First, we need to get some expert help, someone who understands more about the recycling of plastics than I do, someone who can help us with granulation trials, washing trials and maybe some grant funding to help keep things going when I am focussed on our core business of mixing and packing. We need a plan, we need a commissioning date and my grandson has just started to talk!

Martin Usher

MD, Grotech Production Ltd.