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Case Study: Polymer Industries

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

Inspiration/where it all started...

Managing Director, Simon Almond started the business that was to become Devon Contract Waste (DCW) in 1989, with an investment of just £400. The first transfer station in Stoke Canon opened in 1991, and three years later, the first skip lorry was purchased. By 2000, DCW had diversified into materials recovery and opened a small recycling centre in Exeter. The business continued to grow steadily and in 2012, following a series of purchases, Simon bought the old Renwick’s car showroom in Marsh Barton and converted it into a state-of-the-art processing site known as the Enviro Hub.

The Enviro Hub was tragically engulfed by a major fire in 2017, and the building was demolished and rebuilt at the same site, opening its doors in December 2020. The new environmentally sustainable HQ is home to 28 vehicles in the Exeter fleet and to DCW Polymers, the only specialist plastics reprocessing plant south of Bridgewater. The 18,000 sq. ft building has a water harvesting system that collects rainwater which is re-used throughout the premises to supply water for the toilet systems and used to complete everyday tasks such as lorry washing. It also has an air source heat pump and 200 solar roof panels to generate its own electricity.


Problem solved

DCW is one of the only waste disposal companies in the South West to focus on recycling rather than Waste to Energy (incineration), and with a range of specialist commercial waste disposal services that operate under a Zero to Landfill policy, is the ideal choice for those searching for a responsible, local, environmentally sustainable company.

If your business wants to improve its sustainability credentials and lower its carbon footprint, then choose DCW for your recycling and waste disposal needs.

· Polymers – We all know that plastic waste is a worldwide problem, and that is why at DCW Polymers, our emphasis is on recycling and reusing plastic waste. We invested almost £300,000 in a state-of-the-art plastics processing machine at our plastics recycling and recovery centre in Exeter. This enables DCW to locally process more than 100 tonnes of plastic waste per week from customers. More recently an Extruder was purchased that will allow DCW to produce a new line of products made from recycled plastics, in-house at the Exeter facility.

· Data Protection – DCW provide secure bins along with lockable cabinets and skips, to safely store confidential waste in, before it is collected in one of its secure vehicles, manned by DBS-checked operatives, and transported to a licenced, high-security data and product destruction plant. Here, there is capacity to handle 200 tonnes of high security sensitive data and electrical waste destruction per week, for customers throughout the UK. Once your waste is eliminated, DCW can provide you with a Standard British 15713:2009 certificate of Secure Destruction of Confidential Material – fulfilling your responsibilities under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

· Materials Recovery Facility – A fully licensed purpose-built Materials Recovery Centre in Exeter handles more than 25,000 tonnes of customers dry waste each year, manually extracting recycling, effectively diverting it from landfill. Any residual waste that cannot be recycled is processed externally to produce power for the national grid (this is known as RDF – Refuse Derived Fuel). Even the ash product is recycled into construction materials!


Enviro Hub: building (left); reception (right).


Long-term goals

Committed to continually providing exceptional environmental sustainability, both as a business and for its customers, making future savings on carbon emissions, and dedicated to increasing recyclability and the use of renewable energies, DCW is always looking for ways to improve the quality of recycling, whilst eliminating waste. For this reason, DCW introduced a Circular Economy Scheme in January 2020 with the aim of promoting the continual use of resources, by separating waste at source. This in turn creates a more effective economy and reduces the environmental impact of production and consumption in both the UK and abroad. By separating your recycling at source into separate sacks, DCW can increase its recycling rate up to an impressive 94%.

Another long-term plan DCW initiated, aimed at reducing plastic waste in the wider community, is an annual recycling charity campaign, Recycle & Raise, which has been supported locally by the public, businesses, hospitals, and schools etc. across the region. It was started in late 2019 with collections running until the end of the following January. During the first year, we collected confectionery tubs such as Heroes, Celebrations, Quality Street and Roses etc. to recycle and sell back into the manufacturing industry. DCW collected more than 15,000 tubs, raising more than £1200 for charity in the onward sale of the granulated material from those waste tubs.

In 2020 we upped the ante and along with confectionery tubs, have been collecting milk bottle tops, ice cream tubs, cracker / biscuit tubs, and takeaway containers. We have just started coordinating the collections and should be able to calculate the amount we have raised in early April. For more information about the scheme, see Devon Recycle & Raise. We are now hoping that we can expand collections nationally for the next fundraising campaign which we plan to launch in October / November 2021.


Polymers – Recycle & Raise initiative (left); Bench and table made from recycled plastics (right).


by Polymer Industries


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