Maxilead Metals, the Wigan-based scrap metal recycling firm, has exported the equivalent of four Blackpool Towers worth of metal to Asia.
The company collects and processes almost 60,000 tonnes of waste metal from homes and organisations around the UK every year.
In June 2015, Maxilead Metals began exporting some of these materials to countries such as Singapore, India and Bangladesh, and earlier this month, the export total reached 11,000 tonnes — a figure equal to four Blackpool Towers or approximately 3,142 elephants.
Typical materials recycled by Maxilead Metals include scrap vehicles, household appliances, steel, copper and lead. However, more unusual items that have been ‘weighed in’ over the years, include a hearse, Manchester City’s goalposts, the X-Factor stage, a plane and a van used from a crash in Coronation Street.
This metal is processed at the firm’s 18.2 acre site in Tyldesley, before being loaded onto artic wagons and sent to the port of Liverpool. It’s then shipped to Asia by ferry, taking up to 30 days to arrive at a refinery in either Jaipur in India or Kaohsiung in Taiwan.
Once it’s arrived at its destination, the metal is often turned into brake discs for the automotive sector and materials for the construction industry.
Tom Clay, managing director at Maxilead Metals, said: “In recent years, the government and local councils have had to start taking the issue of recycling much more seriously. The UK’s metal recycling target for 2018, for example, is 79 percent. This ambitious goal has seen the demand for our services continually grow, particularly with the introduction of the new car scrappage scheme in 2017. This means that we’re processing more metal than ever before.
“When people bring their scrap to us, the majority of our materials stay here in the UK to be recycled, but approximately 7% is sent to Asia, where it is treated and reused in thousands of new applications. This is fantastic for the environment, as it ultimately means that more waste is diverted from landfill and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.
“One of the best ways we can look after our planet is by getting better and better at recycling and ensuring that materials are being reused over and over again. Everyone needs to do their bit, and we think that people throughout our region are really starting to understand that; hence our year-on-year growth.”
Maxilead Metals recently announced relocation plans to move from its site in Tyldesley to a larger piece of land in Atherton. This will allow the company to expand on the back of a stream of national contract wins.