Plastics firm could double its workforce

Paving the way: Liam Sykes, from Ecclesfield-based R3 Products, installs a panel of its R-Pave patented permeable paving.
Paving the way: Liam Sykes, from Ecclesfield-based R3 Products, installs a panel of its R-Pave patented permeable paving.
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Plastics recycling technology business R3 Products could double the size of its workforce in 12 months after winning significant backing for its expansion plans from equity and debt finance group Iona Capital.

Ecclesfield-based R3 has developed technology that would slash the amount of plastic buried in landfill sites by turning it into heavy duty construction products.

Products include a patented, permeable paving system called R-Pave and an innovative alternative to concrete kerbing called Ezikerb, which weighs less than half as much, is just as durable, but is less damaging to wheel rims when cars come too close.

Iona, which specialises in backing environmentally beneficial products and services, has not disclosed how much it is investing in R3.

However, Sheffield businessman and R3 chairman Kevin Parkin says it will provide a major boost for the firm’s expansion, enabling it to create jobs, increase capacity and seek new export markets.

Iona Capital director Mike Dunn said: “We are pleased to be able to support this innovative process and work alongside a highly committed and experienced management team.

“This investment is one of a series we are making in the waste renewable sector that is aligned with government environmental policy drivers.”

R3 Products plan to recycle 5,000 tonnes of mixed waste plastic as construction products during the next 12 months and expects to double the volume in the following year.

Earlier this year, the company clinched a multimillion pound contract to supply products including its R-pave anti-flood paving to the Middle East.

R-Pave is a widely spaced plastic mesh that can be filled with gravel or other permeable material to create car parks, drives and roadways, golf course walkways and hard standing which allows water to drain away.

Panels of R-Pave interlock and hold the material in place, making it ideal for stabilising soil.

The firm’s Ezikerb kerbing product offers a series of benefits to construction firms.

At present, as much as 60 per cent of concrete kerbing on building sites has to be replaced before the site is handed over, because it has been damaged by heavy plant, but Ezikerb has been designed so that a plastic channel can be laid and covered over until heavy sitework is completed, when the raised kerb is added.

The kerbing can also incorporate channels through which fibre optic and other cables can be run, and solar power systems that could run street lights.