2020 Recycling & Waste Management Awards

BUILD Recycling & Waste Management Awards 2020 4 Sep201057 hough waste management has been a topic of discussion for decades, it has truly exploded over the last twenty years as governments and the public became increasingly aware of the consequences of human activities on the environment. With current environmental pledges, such as net zero decarbonisation by 2050, many believe our efforts are drastically insufficient. Yet, waste management is a swiftly growing field, and a surprisingly new one – even bin collection as we know it today was only introduced as late as the 1920s and the concept of large-scale recycling only creeping in around the 1970s. During this time, waste oil - the used lubricants from car engines and machine parts- were found to have the potential to be recycled. Through distillation processes, it is possible to recycle waste oils back into their original fresh base oil state with the residuals being identical to heavy fuel oils. With over 300,000 tonnes per annum of waste oil generated in the UK alone (2018 figure), it is a highly impactful waste stream that needs tackling. It is in this context that our company, Polihim- SS, operates. We are a family-owned waste oil recycler based in Bulgaria but also serving international clients. We had humble beginnings when we were first established in 1994– the only two employees being engineers Silviya and Stefan Stefanov. (Hence the company adopting the “SS” initials). They retrofitted and automated their house garage into producing low-freezing liquids and greases. Sales surged and so did production, the garage becoming one of the largest producers in the country - supplying airlines, factories and car dealers. As the company name suggests in Bulgarian (it is translated as polychem meaning “various chemicals”), the range of products that the company offered started diversifying into a variety of petrochemicals, diesel fuels, heavy fuels and lubricant oils. It was at that point that the company’s aims and goals drastically changed. While supplying the lubricant market, it became apparent that while other European countries already had an established route to recycle used lubricant oils, Eastern Europe and specifically, Bulgaria was lacking behind. As such, in 2007, Polihim-SS built the country’s first refinery dedicated to recycling waste oils into fresh base stocks. We have since expanded and currently have waste oil procurement branches all over Europe, with our biggest in Crayford, in the UK. Polihim-SS: Best Waste Oil Recovery Specialists – Bulgaria Words by Polly Stefanova, Director of Polihim-SS, following the company’s success in the programme. T

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