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Soyang Europe

Genevieve Lewis talks to Mark Mashiter, managing director of Soyang Europe,on its new partnership with Blue Castle Group and returning to The Print Show 2019

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Mark Mashiter, managing director of Soyang Europe

Don’t let it go to waste

Soyang Europe was established in 2005 and is based in Altham, Lancashire after Hangzhou Soyang Technologies was founded in 2004. After a year, the Europe leg expanded into a larger premises and by 2007 had even opened its own warehouse.

It may come as a surprise that Soyang Europe is only 14 years old, considering its status within the sign and graphics industry.

In 2009, Soyang as a whole continued its bid for world domination by entering the US market after its success in Europe. And in 2013, Soyang Technical Textile in Zhejiang – also known as the Haining factory – was opened to help its presence in China.

Mark Mashiter is the managing director for Soyang Europe, and he explains: “Soyang Europe moved to its current location at Calder House in Altham, Lancashire in 2014 where its 70,000sq ft warehousing and office space hold over 1.5 million sq m of printable material, ready for next day delivery across the UK.”

Soyang Europe moved into its current home in Lancashire in 2014

Soyang Europe’s recent involvement in the news has had a very green approach, and it seems that this environmentally friendly attitude extends to the way the business is run as well. “In spite of Lancashire’s reputation for rain, solar panels contribute to energy savings and the warehouses and product testing facilities benefit from zoned LED lighting, barcoded product tracking and the specialist storage and handling required for moving rolls of material up to 5m in length,” says Mashiter.

Green and blue

On the subject of the environment, Soyang Europe has recently announced that it has partnered with Blue Castle Group for its PVC recycling scheme. Mashiter explains: “The PVC Banner Recycling Scheme is a collaboration between Soyang Europe and waste and recycling experts, Blue Castle Group. Discussions between the two companies started around three years ago, when it came about as a solution to meet the needs of an industry that both parties had independently identified – how to use the best material for the print job yet deliver the environmental credentials that clients required.”

The PVC Banner Recycling Scheme is the natural extension of Soyang Europe’s business ethos – it’s simply the right thing to do

Mashiter continues: “Initial work on the project was started by Blue Castle’s now innovations manager, Gary Howe over a decade ago when he identified the substantial volumes of printed PVC banner material being created, how it was tending to be used for relatively short periods, the difficulties faced with it going to landfill and also the amount of unprinted, scrap offcuts.”

Soyang Europe is partnering with Blue Castle Group to implement the PVC Banner Recycling Scheme

Blue Castle then formed a partnership with the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence at the University of York and Matrix Recycling Systems to develop the solution. Continuing on from this, Blue Castle entered its open funding, Plastic Innovation competition in June 2018. After winning the award, the team secured Innovate UK Innovation grant funding to support this project.

Mashiter adds: “Investment in a suitable site and infrastructure, machinery that shreds and processes the material and intensive trials throughout 2018 led to a workable solution to enable end users to assist in the trial in early 2019, delivering ‘second life’ uses for the processed material that were subsequently approved by partners in a variety of sectors.”

The programme was trialled with four different print companies across the UK but has now been rolled out further into the industry. “The PVC Banner Recycling Scheme is the natural extension of Soyang Europe’s business ethos – it’s simply the right thing to do,” says Mashiter.

The way the scheme works is that customers that use Soyang PVC banner material, whether this be for themselves or for their end customers, and it comes to the end of its life, is delivered back to Blue Castle. This PVC can be laminated, semi-coated, knife coated, blockout and backlit products in thicknesses from 320g up to 720g. Obviously transporting this waste PVC comes with its own battle and Blue Castle and Soyang have come up with a solution that means Soyang backhauling material when delivering new products. And finally, the waste banner is processed at Blue Castle’s recycling facility and the shredded and processed material can be used in a range of industries.

The Print Show

“The Print Show is an ideal opportunity for Soyang and Blue Castle to not only talk and meet with print companies to discuss how to help their businesses with PVC banner recycling, but also to demonstrate our intent through assisting the exhibition organisers and fellow exhibitors with their print waste during and after the show,” says Mashiter.

The Print Show is an ideal opportunity for Soyang and Blue Castle to not only talk and meet with print companies to discuss how to help their businesses with PVC banner recycling, but also to demonstrate our intent

He continues: “Soyang Europe and Blue Castle will be offering a free recycling service whereby any PVC banner material used during the exhibition – such as stand graphics, signage or sample prints produced by exhibitors can be recycled. We’re inviting people to bring their waste PVC banner material to our recycling area on Stand B62 where it will be collected and processed in the same way as we operate with our clients. We’re reducing the print waste from the show overall and putting the collected material to good use.”

Visitors to The Print Show, which will be held in September in Hall 9 of the NEC, will also be able to witness Soyang’s BILD printable flooring material as a 4m-wide graphic at the entrance.

Glimpse of the future

Soyang Europe’s goals consist of expanding its own offerings and product ranges, as well as supplying collections from Drytac, Alimigraphics, DECAL and Intercoat.

The company will also be targeting trends like textiles, with Mashiter explaining: “Soyang Europe will be concentrating on expanding its product ranges across the board, with new and innovative media being added throughout the range. However, there will be specific focus on emerging textile products from our partners at Soyang Technologies as we further increase that very important relationship and deliver the products our customers are asking for.”

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