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Thetford firm's recycling pledge

PUBLISHED: 09:03 13 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:11 07 July 2010

A Thetford family firm has revealed its hope of creating a "zero landfill" recycling facility after a new £5m investment was officially opened.

Pearsons has grown from one man on a bicycle in 1945 to a waste processing company with 130 workers and a turnover of £12m today.

A Thetford family firm has revealed its hope of creating a “zero landfill” recycling facility after a new £5m investment was officially opened.

Pearsons has grown from one man on a bicycle in 1945 to a waste processing company with 130 workers and a turnover of £12m today.

A new recycling centre just outside the town, which came online in April, is set to deal with 75,000 tonnes of waste a year and recycle 85pc of the rubbish it receives.

But officials from Pearsons said on Friday they hoped to be able to recycle almost 100pc of industrial, commercial and residential items thrown away within the next five years.

Richard Jewson, Lord Lieutenant for Norfolk, got behind the wheel of a digger to unconventionally cut the opening tape of the Larkshall recycling plant at East Wretham.

The facility, which received opposition from local villagers during the planning process, has helped increase the company's capacity and staff levels by 40pc.

It has come a long way since Cyril Pearson started collecting newspapers on his bicycle just after world war two when the waste paper merchants was formed.

Pearsons now has three recycling facilities, with a fleet of 50 collection vehicles serving over 5,000 skips, containers, can banks, plastic banks and wheeled bins in the east of England. It processes 2,500 tonnes of rubbish a week.

Jo Pearson, managing director and grandson of the founder, said the company had grown “enormously” since its modest beginnings and it was committed to becoming greener and reducing landfill.

The family firm has submitted three options to further expand its recycling empire in the Thetford area as part of a Norfolk-wide review of waste infrastructure.

Pat Pearson, chairman of Pearsons, added that the next project was to invest another £500,000 for a machine that will grind the 15pc of waste they can not currently recycle to be used to fuel power station furnaces.

Mr Jewson praised the efforts of the “true Norfolk firm.”

“It is very good to see a local family making a commitment to the environment, reducing landfill and increasing recycling. They are investing in our economy and as a major employer in Thetford is playing an active part in the local community,” he said.

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