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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Hardstaff Barriers | Leading barrier supplier proves PPE can protect the planet, as well as people

A leading road safety barrier firm is now protecting the planet as well as people by recycling every item of PPE when it reaches the end of its life.

Hardstaff Barriers, which manufactures and supplies vehicle restraint systems (VRS) and security barriers, is now ensuring that all personal protective equipment that can no longer be worn is recycled rather than disposed of.

PPE has been widely used in the workplace for many years, but since the outbreak of Covid-19, its use has skyrocketed.

In the UK, approximately one million tonnes of clothing is disposed of every year and 10,000 items of clothing are sent to landfill every five minutes. This is approximately 30% of all clothing.

Kathryn Cooper, Service Manager at Hardstaff Barriers, said: “We are delighted that we can not only protect our workforce and customers through the use of quality PPE, but we can rest assured that we are not damaging the environment when the workwear is no longer fit for use.”

The company, based in Nottinghamshire, has teamed up with Granite Workwear, an ISO14001 certified company located in the same county, which has launched its very own textile destruction and recycling service for old or damaged workwear and PPE.

Granite Workwear destroys all clothing, including boots and belts, by recycling it into new fibres, for a variety of products including new fabrics.

Plastics from safety glasses and helmets are re-chipped for re-use in the plastic industry.

Metals from studs, buttons, zips and toe caps and melted down for reuse.

The only product that it cannot recycle is the high visibility tape, which goes to incineration.

The service is carried out by Granite at no cost, with customers simply needing to send the clothing back to them.

Hardstaff Barriers is part of Hill and Smith Holdings PLC, an international group of companies operating within the infrastructure and galvanizing markets.

One of the group’s main objectives is to create sustainable infrastructure and safe transport through innovation.

Simon Towle, Director at Granite Workwear, said: “We started the service as we take sustainability and the environment very seriously.

“As far as we know, we are also the first company to offer complete recycling and re-tasking of all workwear and PPE products that have been purchased from us, ensuring a full circular economy and not just a recycling economy.”

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