Horses and riders in Britain now have another option for arena footing and they may soon be trotting around on recycled carpet thanks to a new recycling initiative in Wales.
The Potter Group, the biggest privately owned waste management organisation in Wales, has opened a new recycling plant to create carpet fibre which will mainly be used in the equestrian sector.
Directors of the Welshpool based company have an equine background, having co-owned two-time Coral Welsh Grand National winner Mountainous, who won in 2013 and 2016. The Potter Family, who run Potters Waste Management, co-owned the racehorse with Dai Walters who heads the Walters Group and owns Ffos Las Race Course in South Wales.
The Potters’ extensive contacts in the horse racing community was a key factor in developing the surface for use on racehorse gallops and riding arenas.
The opportunity was identified in conjunction with leading trainers including Richard and Kerry Lee – who treat horses with chronic injuries – and Ffos Las racecourse.
The new carpet recycling facility at Newtown, Powys, developed with £100,000 support from the Wales Economic Growth Fund, is now fully operational and has created ten new jobs and safeguarded a further six.
The investment in specialist heavy-duty shredding plant and associated equipment reduces the carpets to a flock consistency. It is then ready to be used on equestrian exercise areas either on its own or as a blend with sand or rubber crumb.
Its developers say the surface presents an even and consistent surface, providing a cushioning effect reducing the impact on horses’ legs while exercising. It also reduces variation in consistency, improves drainage and is more resistant to frost than other materials.
Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: “I am pleased Welsh Government support enabled this project to go ahead which is not only reducing waste going to landfill but recycling resources and creating green jobs.”
Every year 400,000 tonnes of carpet waste is created in the UK with the majority going to landfill sites and currently only around 26% of discarded carpet is reused or recycled.
The new facility will use carpets that are unsuitable for cleaning and re-use that are collected from the 12 recycling centres and waste management facilities the company manages around Wales.
The aim is to divert 2000 tonnes a year from landfill with the capability of increasing to 6000 tonnes pa when at full capacity. It will also save local authorities and businesses £150,000 in landfill disposal costs each year.
“At Potters Recycling we are driving innovation in end-of-life solutions for carpets and our vision is to recover and recycle all carpet waste using the best environmental technologies available,” said Debbie Potter, the company’s Operations Director.
“At our new Newtown based centre in Mid Wales all the recycled carpet fibre is sorted by hand to ensure that we supply our customers the best possible quality.
“The product is attractive to a wide variety of customers, including racehorse trainers, equestrian centres, riding schools as well as many private clients,” Potter said.
“The company has invested heavily in new technology to produce the best quality carpet fibre surfaces to meet a growing demand and is now at the forefront of carpet recycling.
“With vast experience within the equine industry we fully understand what is required to provide the perfect footing for our clients and use the recycled carpet fibre to produce equestrian surfaces for customers with menage, turnout and gallop facilities.”