Plastic Wire In South African Vineyards Inspires U.K. Waste Management Innovation

Plastic Wire In South African Vineyards Inspires U.K. Waste Management Innovation

A plastic wire originally made to support vines in South African vineyards has been adapted into a new product that could change the waste incineration process and save millions of pounds in the U.K. and Europe, according to a report in TheStar.

Around 15 percent of waste that is put out for recycling by U.K. households cannot be recycled and instead goes to landfill or is incinerated to make electricity, mainly in Holland.

Each month D R Baling — the largest wire manufacturer in the U.K. — manufactures 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 Plastic, cardboard, and paper.

The steel is a problem, says Managing Director Peter Robinson said: “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.”

So D R Baling invested 1 million pounds ($1.6 million US) on new machinery and development for a new plastic wire, trademarked as Plasloc.

“This plastic wire means the bale can just be burned whole and that could save the waste industry literally millions a year,” Robinson said.

The plastic wire is made from plastic pellets that are melted and passed through a giant machine, which was specially made in Europe. The company is expanding production and building a new 10,000 square-foot space to accommodate a second Plasloc machine, TheStar reports.

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The company has a turnover of 7.5 million pounds ($11.7 million US), and employs 19 staff, but this is likely to increase to more than 30 people if the new product is successful.

Plasloc is based on a wire that was originally made to support vines in South African vineyards. Traditional metal wire didn’t work in the vineyards because it would rust, bend, and heat up so plastic wire was developed instead, TheStar reports.

Robinson took the concept and patented a process to add a rough surface to the wire so that it could more easily be tied in knots. It took years in research and development to come up with a finished product, which is now undergoing trials at a recycling center in Hull.

Paul Tinsley of Enterprising Barnsley, has given D R Baling free advice on marketing and tenders. Tinsley described the product as  “a groundbreaking invention.”