Firm scoops top recycling award for innovative idea

Beccles based Aquablast Ltd have developed a unique process to recycle rubber excavator tracks. The

Beccles based Aquablast Ltd have developed a unique process to recycle rubber excavator tracks. They have now won a national recycling award. MD Donald Blair and operations manager Steve Harris. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A Beccles company which specialises in ultra high pressure waterjetting technologies has scooped a top accolade in the National Recycling Awards.

Aquablast Ltd, based at Ellough, developed a unique process to recycle rubber excavator tracks and won the Innovation of the Year category at the prestigious awards.

Aquablast created the patent-pending Recyclatrack process in response to calls from plant hire companies wanting to divert their scrap tracks from landfill or avoid their tracks being buried or burnt illegally.

The National Recycling Awards judges, who chose Recyclatrack from a shortlist of seven, were impressed by the sustainability of the process and how it recycles 100pc of the product. They said: 'Recyclatrack is impressive for not being driven by regulation, but by an industrial problem that needed a solution. It solves a problem with a composite waste product, taking it back to its constituent materials for reuse.'

The process uses 50,000 psi waterjets to strip the rubber as a fine powder from the tracks which can then be incorporated in a wide range of re-manufactured products. The steel emerges as a clean, high-grade scrap and the process uses less than 20 gallons a minute of fresh water which is also recycled. Scrap tracks are impossible to feed into industrial shredders because of the heavy steel skeleton inside the track.

Aquablast received grant funding for the Recyclatrack process after winning an earlier SMART award competition set by the Technology Strategy Board, sponsored by the government's Business, Innovation and Skills Department.

The company, which employs 18 people, was based in Great Yarmouth for more than 20 years, but moved to Ellough in order to have facilities to develop the Recyclatrack project.

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Managing director Donald Blair, said: 'My team are very proud to have picked up this award and they thoroughly deserve it.

'We had a lot of technical obstacles to overcome to get this specialised process right and now we're getting huge support especially from the large national plant hire companies who have been searching for an environmentally attractive solution to the track disposal problem for years.'

Aquablast is currently in negotiations with parties in Europe and the USA to license and export the Recyclatrack technology.

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