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Barnsley glass recycling company smashes targets

A Barnsley glass recycling firm has smashed its targets for growth by investing £500,000, helping it increase turnover by 50 per cent in the past year.

Barnsley’s GB Cullet, which collects unwanted double glazing units from across the UK and converts the glass panes into broken glass (or cullet) has grown turnover to to £1.5m.

It has been supported by Enterprising Barnsley, which aims to help businesses in the borough grow.

Brothers Gary and Bryn Hopkins, who set up the specialist recycling company in 2004, have overseen a £500,000 investment in the business over the past year.

The cash has been used to move in to larger premises and develop an on-site processing plant, where pure glass can be extracted from commercial windows and doors, which have a particularly tricky layer of laminate (PVB) running through them.

The company’s acquisition of a 6,000 sq ft building on a half-acre site in Wombwell, consolidates its business in Barnsley.

The firm previously worked from a small yard nearby, which they still retain, and used a glass processing facility in Leeds.

With increased capacity and efficiency, the company’s turnover has already risen by 50 per cent from £1m in 2010-11 to £1.5m in 2011-2012. The company has also recruited seven new members of staff in the past six months, which takes its workforce up to 20.

Gary Hopkins said: “We have invested a massive amount of time, effort and money in developing the business over the last 18 months and are very optimistic about the future.

“As one of just a handful of companies carrying out this type of specialist recycling work in the UK, we are now well-placed to grow our market, create more new jobs and increase profitability.”

About 35 per cent of GB Cullet’s recent investment has come from two grants which Enterprising Barnsley helped the company secure.

Mr Hopkins said: “Enterprising Barnsley business coaches gave us the tools we needed to apply for CO2Sense and the Regional Growth Fund grants.

“They also helped us handle our applications for planning approval and environmental permits. Their input has been invaluable.”

Enterprising Barnsley gave the GB Cullet team free business coaching to improve financial management, health and safety procedures and production processes too.

GB Cullet recycles about 400,000 tonnes of material each year, collecting unwanted double glazing units from 130 sites across the north of England, the Midlands, Scotland and South Wales.

The converted broken glass is used by specialist manufacturers to make new windows, bottles and jars, as well as loft insulation and the reflective beads used in road surfaces.

Every by-product in the GB Cullet process, including the uPVC frames, wood, aluminium and cardboard packaging is 100 per cent recycled and sold on.

Enterprising Barnsley business development manager, Shaun Higginbottom, said: “GB Cullet is a Barnsley success story and we have been very pleased to support their strategy for growth and bids for funding to invest in the business.

  • The Enterprising Barnsley programme is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency (BDA) and Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC). The programme is supported financially by the European Union and has attracted £2,259,511 investment into Barnsley from the European Regional Development Fund, as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.