It has been almost 2 years since Cromwell Polythene Ltd expanded its UK manufacturing and recycling base with the acquisition of a long-established recycling and extrusion facility based in Alfreton, Derbyshire. Keeping with the ‘Cromwell’ identity, the business was rebranded as Cromwell Plastic Recycling and later changed to CPR Manufacturing Ltd.
Investments in new machinery and highly skilled extrusion and conversion operatives, has enabled CPR to not only maintain, but expand their portfolio of capabilities. The manufacturing site is now innovating with bespoke polymer blends and manufacturing a wider range of polythene films and products, capable of meeting the needs of more industry applications. The plant now has its very own Polythene Recovery Service, dedicated to collecting clean polythene from customers and brought in to be mechanically recycled into plastic pellets.
The Derbyshire based firm have their eyes firmly set on growing their industry leading status further in sectors like animal and furniture bedding, postal and mailing amongst many others. James Lee, Managing Director of CPR Manufacturing and Cromwell Polythene stated, “UK based manufacturers will be an essential partnership to have in the very near future as supply chains from the far east suffer from disruptions and lead times need to be maintained. According to Bob Biesterfeld, CEO of C.H Robinson, the chances of your vessel from the far east arriving on time are about 40%, when it was 80% this time last year.
Alex Lee, Commercial Director at Cromwell Polythene said, “Cromwell’s partners benefit from short lead times and proactive notifications on stock usage. Our industry-leading reputation also grants access to trusted suppliers that meet supply, even through global struggles like polymer shortages.
Some may consider products made in the UK to be subject to higher costs when compared to international markets. These markets are now catching up as they increase their prices as a result of rising raw material costs, rising labour costs and commitments to investing more in sustainable production and transport.
Delays and price hikes may suggest a need for companies to establish strong UK based manufacturing partnerships. CPR Manufacturing and their sister company Cromwell Polythene, have a joint mission to be the most resourceful companies in plastics by supplying products that help make the world cleaner, greener, and more resourceful. They are continually exploring and implementing new methods to ensure they meet this vision and contribute to a circular economy. Some of these steps include a product range with 100% recycled content, a polythene recovery service, company wide litter picks and a resource efficient distribution hub and transport vehicles.
This social movement is also being backed by legislative change too, with pending reforms like Extended Producer Responsibility, Deposit Return Scheme, and a consistency of waste collection across the UK. As the legislative landscape is forever changing, customers depend on industry leaders to inform them of the latest developments. Members of Cromwell’s team keep their customers updated on what changes will be, how the changes will affect them and advise on the best way forward. For example, from April 1st 2022, The Plastic Packaging tax of £200 per metric tonne applies to plastic packaging which contains less than 30% recycled plastic and manufactured in, or imported into, the UK. For any national company with a large customer base, these changes could have a commercial impact with ramifications to continued growth. The ramifications don’t just occur as a result of the tax, there is also the recycled resource cost to consider. As the tax incentivises recycled material, reprocessed polythene becomes more valuable, harder to source and costly.
UK manufacturers like Cromwell with in-house recycling systems provide a quick and effective route for companies to increase their rate of polythene recycling. Polythene currently, is not widely collected for recycling in the UK, despite being fully recyclable. Cromwell’s Polythene Recovery Service provides a viable route for companies to recycle their clean polythene waste. Cromwell collects clean material from customers and reprocess it in-house into recycled, recyclable plastic pellets, that are reused in the manufacturing of new film, contributing to the goal of a circular economy.
Since the acquisition in January 2020, CPR Manufacturing has furthered it service offerings considerably, maintaining their heavy weight reputation in the industry. As the future points towards a possible steer towards UK manufacturing, Cromwell’s future plans are leaving them as ones to watch in the manufacturing and recycling sector.