Hard Hat Recycling

The hard hat, it’s one of the most essential items of PPE for millions of people across the UK who work in many differing roles. 

Many people are unaware of the fact that hard hats have an expiry date. On the inside of the hat you will find a small clock with two numbers in the middle and an arrow. This represents the month and year of manufacture. Various manufacturers recommend expiration dates of two to five years. However, extreme temperatures, chemicals and wear & tear can all impact on a hard hats intended lifespan.

Every year we throw away millions of hard hats, not just because of expiration dates, but also because of knocks and scrapes, vanity and hygiene. Most are made from thermoplastics like High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) or polycarbonate because these materials are lightweight, durable and easy to mould. Traditionally, they are viewed as general waste which means that at best, they are sent for energy recovery, and at worst they are sent to landfill where they remain for hundreds of years.

At UKWSL we want to help our customers put a stop to this waste. We work with a reprocessor who transforms the hats into other plastic products, including waste paper bins.

One of our largest corporate customers is a national infrastructure company who dispose of thousands of hard hats every year. We have proposed that they crate and palletise hats at several key locations up and down the country.  For a minimal charge the pallets are then couriered to Devon for processing. To maximise the efficiency of the collection our customer is motivated to ensure they fit as many hats into a crate as possible.  Assuming the product is as specified there would be no processing charge when the material is received at the processing plant.

We are now working with our customer to identify the number of hats purchased versus the number being disposed of. This information supports them in trying to find the deeper cause of the amount being wasted.  Fundamentally, our customer wants to Reduce and Reuse rather than Recycle or Recover.

This solution is now being discussed with several of our corporate customers who are all facing the same challenge. Our goal is to work together to create solutions that keep materials within the circular economy for as long as possible.

For more information about this solution, or if you would like to speak to us about your waste needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us on T:01636 640744 or E:enquiries@ukwsl.co.uk