Recycling sector growth takes family business from Rags to Riches

Published on Friday, 30 November 2012 12:12
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

A Canning Town family business has gone from employing just three people to turning over £4 million a year, on the back of threefold growth in the UK recycling industry, Recycling Minister Lord de Mauley will hear on his visit to the company today.

Since its small scale beginnings 25 years ago, used clothing has become increasingly valuable, and the recycling sector has tripled its turnover to more than £10 billion a year.

Lawrence M Barry (LMB) Clothes Recycling Centre has grown to employ over 170 staff and work with partners across the globe. Each week, it collects and sorts up to 200 tonnes of clothing which is exported for re-use in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.

Britain's exports of recovered materials are worth more than £4 billion a year to the nation's economy.  Since 1998, around 8,000 jobs have been created in the UK recycling sector, which now employs more than 30,000 people.

Lord de Mauley said:

"In the 25 years since LMB started trading, waste has become an increasingly valuable commodity and the business has gone from strength to strength.  It's more proof that  sustainability does not just make environmental sense, it also makes excellent business sense.

"Used clothing has a massive commercial value, yet over 350,000 tonnes goes to landfill in the UK every year. There's scope for all of us to think more wisely about the things we throw away.  Re-use and recycling are not only good for the environment, but drive an industry that is creating jobs and helping to grow the nation's economy."

During his visit to the company today, Lord de Mauley will help staff sort used clothing, before it is sent abroad.

Source: ©Defra

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