MBA Polymers transfers global R&D operation to the UK


Leading plastics recycler MBA Polymers is moving its global R&D operation and headquarters to Worksop, UK. The company also plans to expand the processing capacity of its existing 12,000 m2 Worksop processing plant from 60,000 tonnes to 80,000 tonnes per year by mid-2014. The firm will close its existing R&D facility in Richmond, California, but aims to build full processing plants in the US in the future.

The MBA Polymers Worksop plant, one of the largest and most advanced plastics recycling sites worldwide, is run jointly with European Metal Recycling (EMR), a metal recycling specialist that supplies the company with a steady stream of post-consumer waste. The plant focuses primarily on recovering mixed plastics from shredder residue from end-of-life cars.

Speaking to Plastics News magazine in July 2013, CEO Mike Biddle commented: “The UK is the centre of our concentration today,” Biddle said. “Moving our R&D facilities to Worksop is strategic – Europe is ahead of the game when it comes to recycling plastics. I also intend for the US be a major part of our business in the coming years.”

Biddle said that the decision to expand the company’s US business was prompted by three key factors:

  • The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given a green light to mining plastics from the 4.5 million tonnes of auto shredder residue generated annually in the US. That translates to about 680,000 to 907,000 tonnes of plastic.
  • Electronics recycling is also continuing to grow in the US, despite a lack of specific legislation.
  • More than 29 million tonnes of plastics are discarded in US municipal solid waste streams annually, estimates the EPA, meaning there is a significant opportunity for more recycling to take place. Single-stream municipal recycling programmes and mixed recycling are already starting to prove popular.

Discussing the move, he commented:  “Moving our R&D facilities to Worksop is strategic; Europe is ahead of the game when it comes to recycling plastics, and we’re confident that this new R&D facility is going to help us increase our foothold in the European market.

“Meanwhile, we’ll be growing our US operation. Though recycling plastics is still a relatively new concept, the growth of MBA shows that there’s a real appetite for these products and we simply need more space if we’re to meet demand for the plastics we produce.”