Anglo Recycling

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Anglo Recycling's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Anglo Recycling is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Chairman Simon Macaulay
Anglo’s mill built in 1851
Based in the picturesque Rossendale Valley in Lancashire,
Anglo Recycling is a local business that recycles clothing,
virgin carpet and jute sacking – much of which used to go
to landfill. It employs around 40 people and possesses a range
of specialist machinery that takes the recycled fibres and turns
them into a range of products with technical performance that
meet the needs of the market. It also supplies materials for the
flooring, horticulture, food and specialist acoustics industries.
Simon Macaulay took over the business from his father in 1998
and he tells the
Many of my friends wondered why someone with an MBA from London Business
School would want to move to what they regarded as a backwater. For me, the
pull was all about having the chance to build my own business and carry on what
my father had started. Even though my salary was cut in half after the move, the
first venture I had tried in my 20s had failed and I needed to see if I could make this
business work.
I later discovered that my uncle David had rung my father to remonstrate with him
for encouraging me into the UK textile industry. It didn’t help that I knew little of
the industry and in my first 18 months made a few mistakes – not least having
three fires, which are the bane of the recycling industry. My insurer told me that
they would no longer be able to offer cover against any future fires.
»Chairman: Simon Macaulay
»Managing Director: Andy Hall
»Founded in 1939
»Based in the Rossendale
Valley, Lancashire
»Services: Textile recycler
and manufacturer of textile
goods for flooring, acoustics,
horticulture and food industries
»No. of employees: 37
»Turnover: £2.4 million
»The business was established
by Hans Neuhaus, a German
Jew who was on the run from
the Nazis, and his Lancashire
customers weeks before the
outbreak of World War II
Anglo Recycling
Highlighting best practice
How we turned it around
Thanks to the help of Michael Walsh,
who joined the company as a 23-year-
old to help with sales, things began
to improve. Michael introduced
preventative maintenance schemes, he
worked with a local company to put
carbon dioxide fire dampener systems
on all machines and, most importantly,
he introduced regular and structured
cleaning on all plants. We have not
had a fire since.
At the same time, Anglo was gaining
a reputation for innovative solutions
to problems. For example, I was once
told by an old friend from my time
working for an M&S food supplier
that a company on the south coast
was using felt in the commercial
growing of cress. In response, I made
the six-hour journey and met with the
manager Chris. Chris was innovative,
and he was really interested in setting
up trials using our recycled waste.
After a few false starts and lots of
micro testing, Chris was delighted to
approve a product that reduced cress
growing cycle time by 25 per cent. This
product forms a significant part of our
range today and versions are exported
all over the world.
Our major strategic decision taken
midway through the 2008 recession
was to vertically integrate backwards
and to buy and install a recycling
line while changing the name of the
company from Anglo Felt to Anglo
Recycling. We were the first to recycle
wool-rich carpet in the UK to then
reuse the fibres, and this attracted
the attention of John Lewis. They
worked with us and their other UK
carpet manufacturers to develop a
closed-loop recycling system where
fitters and factory virgin carpet offcuts
were brought up to our factory to be
recycled and then the fibre produced
was used to make carpet underlay that
John Lewis then sold to its customers
in store. The idea was so successful
that for a period we had to ask the
buyers in London to remove the
underlay from sale as our factory could
not keep up with demand.
I was then able to afford to recruit
an engineer with valuable operations
management experience, Andy Hall,
to help Anglo on to the next stage
of its development. Andy brought
an engineer’s eye and his experience
working for global oil companies, such
as Esso, to this curious hybrid of a
company. He was able, within two to
three years, to improve gross margins
by around 30 per cent – an amazing
achievement – putting the company on
a much firmer footing.
Companies are for more than
just profit
I have always seen my role as the
owner of a company as encompassing
more than just the bottom line.
My heroes include the Victorian
philanthropists Cadbury, the Lever
Brothers and Salts of Saltaire whose
Anglo use virgin carpet
offcuts that used to
go to landfill as a raw
He was able,
within two to
three years, to
improve gross
margins by
around 30 per
cent – an
– putting the
company on a
much firmer
strong Christian faith underpinned
their desire to improve the lot of their
staff and the communities in which
they operated. Andy shares a similar
passion and he is currently the pro
bono chairman of the trade body
Carpet Recycling UK, which has taken
carpet recycling from three per cent
in 2008 to over 40 per cent in 2018.
With not a penny of government
support, this is an achievement
of which the industry deserves to
When Lancashire County Council
had to close the popular youth club
in Whitworth because of budget
cuts, I formed a charity alongside two
local churches to ensure the work
continued. The charity employs a
full-time youth worker and a number
of part-timers. Working alongside the
county council, we now occupy their
youth club building and we work with
the town high school to support them
with a teenager mentoring scheme.
I also have a clear vision for how a
business should be run. At Anglo,
ten per cent of profits each year are
split equally between all staff – which
means that the bonus gives most
benefit to the most junior member of
the team. Each quarter, we brief staff
face-to-face on company performance,
while we have also developed a
company charter which publicly sets
out the standards that we are striving
to achieve.
While we fail on occasion, we
encourage our employees to be
truthful in all conversations with
suppliers, customers and colleagues.
The company chaplain is free to
wander around the factory and talk
to staff about anything they wish
and the net effect of this has been
a remarkable improvement in staff
retention and an improved work
environment. I absolutely love coming
into work every day – and a big part of
that is the colleagues I work alongside
– it is an absolute privilege to me that
they have given often a big chunk of
their lives to Anglo.
At Anglo, ten
per cent of
profits each
year are split
between all
Fresh herbs grown in
vertical factory farms on
Anglo’s growmat

This article was sponsored by Anglo Recycling. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster