Racing start for carpet recycling centre

8 Jan 2016 02:10 PM

The directors of a Welsh waste management company who co-owned 2013 Coral Welsh Grand National winner Mountainous are behind a new equine exercise surface made from recycled carpets.

The Potter Family, who run Potters Waste Management, co-owned the racehorse with Dai Walters who heads the Walters Group and owns  Ffos Las race course.

The Potters’ extensive contacts in the horse racing community was a key factor in developing the surface for use on race horse gallops, meneges and riding arenas.

The opportunity was identified in conjunction with leading trainers including Richard and Kerry Lee – who treat horses with chronic injuries – and Ffos Las racecourse.

The new carpet recycling facility at Newtown, Powys, developed with £100,000 support from the Wales Economic Growth Fund, is now fully operational and has created ten new jobs and safeguarded a further six.

The investment in specialist heavy duty shredding plant and associated equipment reduces the  carpets to a flock consistency. It  is then ready to be used on equestrian  exercise areas either on its own or as a blend with sand or rubber crumb.

The surface presents an even and consistent surface, providing a cushioning effect reducing the impact on horses legs while exercising. It also reduce variation in consistency, improves drainage and is more resistant to frost than other materials.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said:

“I am pleased Welsh Government support enabled this project to go ahead which is not only reducing  waste going to landfill but  recycling  resources and creating green jobs.”

Every year 400,000 tonnes of carpet waste is created in the UK with the majority going to landfill sites and currently only around 26% of discarded carpet is reused or recycled.

The new facility  will use carpets that are unsuitable for cleaning and re-use that are collected from the 12 recycling centres and waste management facilities the company manages around Wales.

The aim is to divert 2000 tonnes a year from landfill with the capability of increasing to 6000 tonnes pa when at full capacity. It will also save  local authorities and businesses £150,000 in landfill disposal costs each year.

“At Potters Waste Management we are driving innovation in end-of-life solutions for carpets and our vision is to recover and recycle all carpet waste using the best environmental technologies available,” said Debbie Potter, the company’s Operations Director.

“With vast experience within the equine industry we fully understand what is required to provide the perfect footing for our clients and use the recycled carpet fibre to produce equestrian surfaces for customers with menege, turnout and gallop facilities,”

she added.

Potters Waste Management is also investigating the potential to separate carpets into wool and polymer to make insulation fibre or pellets for re-manufacturing within the industry.

The company  is also exploring export markets in Ireland and France and middle eastern countries where racing is popular sport.

This is the latest business established by the Potter Group, a third generation family run business which was originally established for the recycling of ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

The company  is now recognised as the largest privately owned waste management company in Wales with a range of businesses from renewable energy to manufacturing of titanium as a zirconium based alloy for customers in the aerospace, petrochemical, biomedicine and electrolysis industries.