A Barnsley manufacturer could have the future of waste incineration all tied up with the development of a pioneering plastic wire which started life in the South African vineyards.
D R Baling, which is the UK’s biggest wire manufacturer, has invested a million pounds on buying new machinery and developing the new wire, trademarked as Plasloc. It can be used to tie up waste for transport to incinerators, can be safely burned and could save the waste industry millions of pounds.
Each month D R Baling makes about 15,000 miles of steel wire at its plant at Oxspring, near Penistone, which is used by the recycling industry to tie together bales of cardboard, paper or plastics.
Around 15 per cent of waste that is put out for recycling by households cannot be recycled and instead goes to landfill or is incinerated to make electricity, mainly in Holland.
D R Baling, which has a turnover of £7.5m, is being given free marketing advice by Enterprising Barnsley, which is run by Barnsley Council. It currently employs 19 staff, but this is likely to increase by at least a dozen if the new product is successful.
The wire is made from plastic pellets which are melted and passed through a giant machine, which was specially made in Europe. The company is currently expanding production facilities by constructing a new 10,000 sq ft building to house a second Plasloc machine.
Managing director Peter Robinson said he is confident the new product will take off.
“At the moment waste firms are baling unrecyclable waste with steel wire and plastic wrapping. But when that gets to the incinerators in Holland that has to come off before the bales can be burned and that is a really messy and expensive job.
“This plastic wire means the bale can just be burned whole and that could save the waste industry literally millions a year.”
Plasloc is based on a wire that was originally produced for use in the vineyards of South Africa to support the vines. Traditional metal wire would bend, get hot and rust. So plastic wire was developed for use instead.
Peter took the concept and patented a process to add a rough surface to the wire so that it can be tied in knots more easily. But it took several years and much research to come up with the finished product, which is now undergoing trials at a recycling centre in Hull.
Paul Tinsley, of Enterprising Barnsley, which has given D R Baling free advice on areas like marketing and tenders, said: “It’s fantastic to think that a ground-breaking invention is being developed here in Barnsley.
“It just shows that we have some amazing business brains in the borough and can be at the forefront of manufacturing in the UK.”