Barkston Plastics Engineering, a company that was set up in 1969 to create a place where you can get your plastic when and how you need it.

The company make a range of plastic products, from fire engine shells to secondary glazing. They are aware that their industry could be responsible for some of the plastic waste in this country and have made a conscious effort to reduce this as much as possible.

With only 12% of plastic waste in the UK being recycled, and 25% of it going to landfill, the impact of its waste and single use plastic is a huge conversation right now.

And Barkston have been working hard to be part of the solution. They use plastic that is recyclable and sustainable. And they recycle 98% of their waste product and are still striving to improve this. Part of their efforts mean they donate their unwanted plastic.

Recently the engineering company have donated over a tonne of sheet plastic to Leeds’ University Technical College. It has been used across the Engineering Manufacture, Engineering Design and Art and Product Design courses at the college.

Mark Carter, the managing director at Barkston, said: “Working with plastic, we try to be extra conscious when it comes to stock, we no longer need. We try to reuse and recycle as much as we can.”

Recruitment and attendance officer, Megan Barthorpe said: “it’s a huge help! – Engineering and Design are massively expensive subjects to resource and sheet polymers are some of the costliest, and nothing will be wasted.”

The students are given a brief where they need to come up with a solution to a problem as part of their course. They came up with this idea from the problem of the recycling bin at home always being filled with plastic bottles.

Their solution was to shred the plastic bottles so that they take up less space in the bin, so they have made a prototype plastics shredder.

Mark said: “we are so happy that the plastic sheets that we donated to the college have gone to good use, helping students learn a skill and reduce any waste that could have been.”

As of 2021, around 80% of adults in Great Britain are taking steps to reduce their usage of single-use plastic. And two thirds of British people said they view cafes and businesses more favourably if they offer reusable and refillable options.

Leeds’ University Technical College Recycling Project