Working from reactor to recycle, Impact Solutions offer a one stop shop for your plastic testing, development and research needs. Tom Rose, Innovations Manager at Impact Solutions, has been with the company for nearly two years. He is the next PlastikCity Partner to face the HotSeat…
What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics? How will Impact Solutions respond?
With the spotlight on how single use plastic packaging and products are impacting our environment I think a key trend will be developing materials and products with a much greater focus on recyclability and product design. At the moment product designers, brand owners and plastic product manufacturers aren’t really communicating with the recycling industry about how best to design their products for recycle, this needs to change if we want to develop a closed loop, circular economy.
By looking coherently at the plastic industry; developing new plastics and designing these into products with recycling in mind, we can not only reduce the environmental footprint of plastic but open up new markets for post-consumer plastics. It’s this connection point between the product manufacturers and recyclers that Impact is trying to help develop. Impact last year set up the Scottish Plastics Recycling Centre of Excellent with the help of Zero Waste Scotland. Its aim is to work with recyclers and plastic manufacturers to improve the quality and quantity of plastic recycled but also bring together these two ends of the market and close the gap in the circular economy.
How has Impact Solutions developed during your tenure?
Impact Solutions really have a wealth of knowledge at their disposal from the years of work as a leading test laboratory in the UK. What we’ve tried to do in the last several years is harness and leverage that knowledge of materials and the challenges the industry faces to develop innovative solutions and products ourselves. In that respect we’ve began to focus far more on our own R&D, developing new materials and technologies as well as working with large consortiums grant funded projects. From this work we’ve already successfully spun out two very different technologies, including an NDT system for PE pipe welding and a completely new kind of polyolefin separation technology for recyclers. Both are in market and doing extremely well.
What do you credit as the key to your success?
Myself personally and Impact as a company are always looking and moving forward. Taking risks are a key part of this and I think that is critical to being successful and developing. Without pushing boundaries and sometimes failing you can’t really see what is possible and lead.
What advice do you wish you’d had on entering the industry and does that differ from the advice you would give to an Apprentice joining now?
Always question the conventional wisdom or how something is done, try and think if there’s a better or more efficient way to do it. Improvements or advancements aren’t made by sticking to the same way of thinking but by questioning convention and shifting the paradigm.
What hidden talents do you have?
I can read and write Arabic.