About Blue Castle
Find out more about the story of Blue Castle, an environmentally conscious waste management and utilities provider.
Blue Castle is a leading consultancy in sustainable business solutions, specialising in responsible waste management and energy procurement. UKCPN recently caught up with CEO of Blue Castle, Marie Harley, to find out a little bit more about what they do and their relationship with UKCPN and Innovate UK KTN.
Hi Marie, could you please introduce yourself and provide some information on your role at Blue Castle? Could you also please give us a bit of background to Blue Castle (what it is that you do/which sectors you operate in/what makes you unique)?
I’m the CEO at Blue Castle and I have a passion for disruption in order to innovate new ways of working. As a waste and energy consultancy, we are always striving to find more cost-effective and sustainable ways of serving our customers, whether that’s through recycling or simply brokering a better deal through our industry contacts.
Being part of a leading consultancy in sustainable business solutions, our team of dedicated specialists all believe in the core principle of finding a better way for each of our customers. I believe that by having a people focus, I can inspire the Blue Castle team to find a better way for themselves as well, facilitating a fulfilling and positive corporate environment which will make our team the best they can be for each of our customers.
I recently became an Alumni for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK programme, which has allowed me the opportunity to really focus on what it is we’re trying to achieve at Blue Castle, and what sort of company we want to be moving forwards. I was encouraged to look back over the course of my life to find out exactly who I am, what I believe in and how to make the company into something very special. We are on a journey.
What inspired you to set up Blue Castle?
I didn’t set Blue Castle up, I actually joined them as waste services administrator in 2011 after previously working for a direct waste supplier, Shanks Waste. I joined Blue Castle after becoming frustrated with the way that direct waste suppliers work, only offering their customers the service that filled up their trade vehicles and never really solving their ‘waste’ problems. It was in 2014 when the owner manager sold the business to private investors that I was given the opportunity to become CEO and that is when I was able to really put my stamp on the business and create more of a consultancy led business than waste and energy brokerage.
What are the challenges and opportunities facing your company and the sectors in which you operate?
The biggest challenge for our company is finding homes for all of the challenging and ‘perceived’ waste streams, polymers is a big example of this with them having such a bad name in the industry companies and individuals look for other materials that are branded as ‘recyclable’ in a bid to be greener and protect the environment without fully understanding the route the waste has to take to become recyclable. But this in turn is also an opportunity for Blue Castle as we are able to work with our customers and provide them with a solution that works with their environmental and commercial requirements.
What specific help did Innovate UK KTN/UKCPN give you and did we help you meet any collaborators/offer any introductions?
Innovate UK KTN and UKCPN have introduced us to a number of customers who have had the desire for a number of years to create new products from the waste of their existing products but have been coming up against roadblocks from other waste suppliers.
Have you benefited from receiving funding? If so how did you use this funding support? Where do you see Blue Castle growing and do you have scope for expansion outside of the UK?
Yes we received funding from a ‘plastics innovation: towards zero waste competition’ where our project title was ‘A new method of recycling PVC; bolstering the circular economy through producing both a purer REACH compliant R-PVC and other new high-value outputs.’
We used the funding to increases the range of PVC waste we can recycle, widening our customer base to the medical sector and producers of other PVC wastes such as cable regrind, flexible banners and credit/store cards. The value proposition of our process to waste producers is the diversion from landfill/incineration. Our R-PVC customers will obtain a purer, higher quality R-PVC and UPR users will have the opportunity to purchase a quality polymer made from recycled material. We envisage generating increased revenue from this process through sales of R-PVC and UPR, in addition to our gate fee for incoming PVC waste; a 5kt/year recycling plant would generate ~£6.47M/annum revenue post-commercialisation. We may also generate revenue through licensing the technology to processors outside the UK. Increasing our revenue will enable us to continue expanding our R&D to other innovations.
What has your experience been of working with Innovate UK KTN/UKCPN?
Being able to form strong relationships with members of the Innovate UK KTN & UKCPN team has enabled us to form relationships with companies looking for solutions to their waste challenges. Attending the events alongside Innovate UK KTN & UKCPN has enhanced our profile as the go to company for ‘problem’ waste and opened doors that we wouldn’t have been able to do on our own.
What’s next for Blue Castle?
Through collaboration with Innovate UK KTN and UKCPN Blue Castle will continue to expand our R&D to other innovations and bring about transformative change in our industry.
Find out more about Blue Castle by viewing their website here.