Five minutes with Nigel Hunton, CEO of MBA Polymers…

Nigel Hunton

We speak to our CEO, Nigel Hunton, about his ambitions for the business and the challenges facing the plastics recycling market in Europe.

What are some of MBA Polymers’ big achievements?

Our business in Austria has now been going for ten years, and is now a proven technology business model. Together with our JV partner, Müller-Guttenbrunn, we were recognised as Austria’s biggest e-waste shredder in 2013.

We’re delighted to have achieved global recognition for our work through multiple awards, such as the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development and more recently Ethical Corp’s ‘Best SME’ award. We’re also lucky to have great support at a local level from our MP, John Mann, as well as interest from central government. Just this week, the UK’s Business Secretary (Dr. Vince Cable) visited our Worksop plant to hear more about our work and how we’re contributing towards a circular economy.

What are your ambitions for the business?

We’re on track to increase the processing capacity of our Worksop plant by 40% within the next few months. We plan to continue scaling up our UK business and use this model as a blueprint to create a large recycling business through further investments. For example, there are more than 250 million cars in the US, so there’s a big opportunity for us to recycle the plastic from the country’s end-of-life vehicles.

We’ve also strengthened our management team with highly experienced, business-focused people. That’s because fundamentally, we know that a sustainable business has to be profitable. Building the right business culture is integral to our success. I’m passionate about growing the company, and plan to build a strong engineering company that will have a great future. As we grow, we’ll remain committed to our core objective of diverting waste from landfill.

Tell us about some upcoming projects

As we develop, it’s vital that we continue to motivate our employees and engage with our customers to help them realise the benefits of using high quality recycled materials. Part of our focus on inspiring people internally and building a strong, stable workforce will see us step up our efforts on youth training.

We’ve recently begun a new youth training programme at our Worksop site, where we have 20 people aged 18-21, nearly 15% of our UK workforce. We’re helping our young employees to develop core skills for work and life. This follows a graduate programme we launched in 2013, and will see local school leavers, often from underprivileged backgrounds, gaining a foothold on the career ladder. In the future, we’d also like to introduce an apprenticeship programme.

We’re also doing some very interesting work with Jaguar Land Rover and Brunel University on innovative materials. We’ll be sharing more on this project in the coming months.

What are the challenges and opportunities for the European plastics recycling market, in your view?

Overall, European countries need to process more plastic waste in Europe. This means we need a higher customer demand for products with recycled content – the government could help with this by, for example, introducing 0% VAT for products using recycled plastic.

We’re seeing good levels of interest from the automotive industry and also the construction industry. What’s important about our operation here in Worksop is that due to our robust partnership with EMR, we have the scale and ability to deliver a steady stream of products, which is vital to supply chain continuity in major industries.

To learn more about MBA Polymers’ news and achievements, please visit our website.