Bakers Basco seals deal with Counterplas to produce 1.5m climate-first bread baskets

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Basco's bread baskets can potentially be recycled 400 times, meaning the raw plastic can be used more times before going to landfill. Pic: Bakers Basco
Basco's bread baskets can potentially be recycled 400 times, meaning the raw plastic can be used more times before going to landfill. Pic: Bakers Basco

Related tags Bakers basco Allied bakeries Fine Lady Bakeries Frank roberts Hovis Warburtons Counterplas bread baskets Circular economy Recycled plastic

The equipment membership scheme set up by Allied Bakeries, Fine Lady Bakeries, Frank Roberts & Sons, Hovis and Warburtons has inked a three-year contract with Counterplas to produce over 500,000 bread baskets annually, which are made from 30% recycled plastic material.

Production starts at the end of this month, initially to produce over half a million plastic bread trays each year using at least 30% recycled polypropylene (PP) material.

This is part of Bakers Basco’s commitment to contribute in a positive way to the circular economy by reducing the environmental impact of its plastic use in the supply chain.

“We’re delighted that Counterplas has been selected to handle the new contract for Bakers Basco,”​ said Mike Elms, CEO of Counterplas.

“Businesses like Bakers Basco must run like clockwork to ensure the daily delivery of bread to several bakeries across the UK, so they need a partner they can rely on to meet the production demand. We look forward to a seamless takeover of the contract and hopefully working together on future projects.” 

The West Midlands-based technical plastic injection moulding company helps businesses source cost-effective materials from the UK and abroad, using a sophisticated supply chain management structure. It banks on its collection of energy efficient machines (which range from 85T to 1500T) to provide a complete plastic manufacturing solution that carries out all the moulding and product assembly. All equipment is robot-assisted and microprocessor controlled.

Elms joined Counterplas three years ago, ramping it up from a £3m to £13m turnover business. His background in the packaging industry has seen Counterplas’ capabilities expand from a global Siemens traffic light contract to manufacture a range of material handling containers from milk crates to bread trays and various logistics containers supplied to major UK retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda.

Nimble and flexible

Basco baskets

“We were looking for a supplier that is nimble and flexible to be able to quickly respond to our changing requirement,”​ said Paul Empson, General Manager, Bakers Basco.

“We were impressed not only by the quality of equipment Counterplas can produce but working closely with a streamlined management team means the decision-making process when we need extra parts, for example, is quicker and more efficient.”

Looking ahead, Bakers Basco has plans to work with Counterplas on other projects, exploring different sizes, densities, tooling and products.

Bakers Basco was set up in 2006 by five of the UK’s leading plant bakers including Allied Bakeries, Fine Lady Bakeries, Frank Roberts & Sons, Hovis and Warburtons - together representing more than 55% of the UK’s bakery market - to buy, manage and police the use of a standard basket for the delivery of bread to retailers and wholesalers.

The company currently manages an equipment pool of approximately five million Omega Baskets and 500,000 dollies, which are part of the ‘circular economy’. Each piece of kit can potentially be recycled 400 times, meaning the raw plastic can be used more times before going to landfill.

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