A Woman’s Dream Becomes an Innovative Global Sustainability Company

A woman’s dream of a better life for her family has enabled Warrington-based EMR Recycling to become an innovative global sustainability company.

As the basis of a decade of action, the strategy launched last year by EMR, which sets out a ten-year plan of real-world sustainable development goals by 2030, the company has an ambitious global goal of ” achieve a zero carbon footprint by 2040.

Ian Sheppard, EMR Managing Director of Metal Recycling, said: “EMR is a forward-looking company. We recognize that metal recyclers have a responsibility to take a leadership role in the development of a more sustainable circular economy wherever they operate.
“This is the idea behind Our Decade of Action, the strategy launched by EMR last year that sets out a 10-year plan of real-world sustainability goals by 2030, and a target global ambition to achieve a zero carbon footprint by 2040.
“The coming decades present many challenges for our team and our operations, but, looking at EMR’s more than 70 years of history, it is clear that our company has a long history of adaptation and learning to thrive in a constantly changing environment. industry.”
The story began with a woman’s dream of a better life for her family. In the 1940s, Winifred Sheppard left wartime London for the relative safety of Rochdale after a bomb destroyed the factory where she worked. With her husband Hubert and children Bob, Stanley, Bert, George and Queenie, Winifred opened the family’s first metal recycling yard, The Shed in downtown Rochdale.
Since then, EMR has grown to operate across the UK, US and Northern Europe, but the Sheppard family and its origins in North West England remain at the heart of the our company’s legacy.
In fact, EMR has only officially called itself “European Metal Recycling” since 1994. Prior to that, the company was Sheppard Waste Recovery, then The Sheppard Group.
Mr. Sheppard added, “From the start, the company has been ambitious in the way it operates. In the 1960s and 1970s, this meant investing in innovative equipment such as shears and Bailey presses with more capacity than it needed, planning for future expansion and a changing market.
“This philosophy survives to this day with new sites such as our new metal recycling facility and our ship loading site at King George V docks fitted with large-scale electrical connections in anticipation of the complete demise of the company in the years to come. ”
By the end of the 1970s, the company’s growth in multiple locations had become one of its defining characteristics. In 1978 the company acquired its second location, a competitor’s yard at St Helen’s and by the early 1980s the company also had an export facility at Liverpool Docks, providing access to the growing export market of the scrap. From these three locations, EMR has grown over the past 40 years to operate from 160 locations today.
Over the years, the company has partnered with a number of companies with illustrious track records in the industry. This includes George Cohen’s Group 600 in 1987 (including Cox & Danks Ltd, the salvage company that worked with the owner of the Titanic, White Star Line, as well as the British Navy during WWII). In the early 1990s, the company also acquired Coopers Metals, to create the newly renamed EMR.
Since then, EMR Recycling has grown into a leading international metal recycling company. They have also broadened their expertise with the acquisition of operators across the market (such as Mayer Parry in 2001 and Mountstar in 2007) or by investing in research and development at our innovative Oldbury site to get closer to their goal of zero landfill.
With the arrival of MBA Polymers in the group in 2010, EMR also embarked on plastic recycling, further expanding its skills and moving towards total waste management.
While a lot has changed since the days of Winifred Sheppard, the common thread in EMR’s history is family ownership, investing in their operations and always looking beyond the present towards it. which might be possible in the years to come.
Mr. Shepphard concluded: “As EMR and the recycling industry face two decades of transformation, it is this story that gives us confidence in the ability to meet the challenges and opportunities that the future will bring. “

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