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Frome Mayor backs innovative work of recycling firm

Frome Mayor Peter Macfadyen has a  quest to discover the hidden gems of business and the people behind them who help make the town of Frome a thriving community. 

This quest continued when he spent the morning of Thursday 24th July at the Protomax Plastics’ unit on Vallis Mills Trading Estate to see the revolutionary processes and resulting products produced at the waste recycling plant.

Cllr Macfadyen, who is a strong advocate of local business enterprise and the need for recycling, regeneration and sustainability, was given a guided tour by Protomax inventor and founder Nick Stillwell and general manager Mark Lloyd.

Protomax, whose products are already well received across the UK and other European countries, transforms problem waste plastics into a resource, stylish recycled products.

Mark explained how the Protomax 8ft by 4ft boards are strong, versatile and water resistant and ideal as replacement for plywood and MDF, but most importantly offer closed loop solutions for customers and their waste, which means the plastic waste collected from them is turned into useful products they need for their business. Items for every day use include furniture, kitchen worktops and sun loungers.

Cllr Macfadyen, who was accompanied on his tour by the council’s energy and recycling officer Anna Francis said, “One of my aims is to help drive Frome forward as a hub of innovation for recycling and Protomax is innovative, helps create jobs and it fits in well with the town and the council’s policies for recycling. It is exactly the kind of firm we want to be encouraging.”

Protomax has worked with award-winning sustainable architects Bruges Tozer on Frome’s Cheese & Grain venue refit using recycled material to create a state-of-the-art venue with performance spaces, new cafe/bar, and office and networking spaces. Its recycled boards were used to make the main reception/box office desks and the bar areas.

Keen cyclist Cllr Macfadyen acknowledged that Protomax should have clear recognition for its work on this project, which was awarded a Green Apple Award for Environmental Best Practice in the 2014 national competition.

He was sure the town could forge close links with Protomax and work together on a number of projects which are looking at including planters and recycling bins, particularly through recycling unwanted and unused VHS tape.

On a wider stage Somerset Waste Partnership’s Beth Prince, strategy officer and David Mansell, development and monitoring manager, have also visited Protomax in recent weeks to see how Somerset as a whole can benefit from Protomax’s recycling expertise.

Nick Stillwell said, “We are pleased to be part of the Frome community and proud that we are the only company to have developed and patented its own range of machinery and processes to upcycle mixed plastic waste.

“With our own engineering and design team we came up with a revolutionary method of upcycling mixed waste plastics and not only did we patent the process, but built and designed the machines, from prototype to full manufacture.”