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Johnsons Aggregates and Recycling Limited

Zero to landfill and minimal impact upon the environment are the priorities for this highly specialised East Midlands operator

1st August 2022

In a world calling for greater sustainability, innovative solutions are sure to point the way.  Among those already making a positive contribution to our collective future is Ilkeston, Derbyshire-based Johnsons Aggregates and Recycling Limited, a leading producer of a highly specialised recycled material known as Incinerator Bottom Ash Aggregate, or IBAA.


Founded in 1999 by Steve Johnson, Johnsons Aggregates and Recycling has always been an ambitious and innovative company.  While the firm's roots stretch back to the supply of quarried and recycled aggregates, site clearance, contract crushing and the disposal of contaminated materials – services it continues to offer to this day – it soon recognised an opportunity for an altogether new product.  This it has developed to the point where it has now become central to the firm's operations as Lewis Johnson, who has recently taken up the reins from his father as Chief Executive Officer, explains


"As the energy from waste sector grew and developed, we could see potential in what is known as the Incinerator Bottom Ash, or IBA, left at the end of the incineration process," says Lewis.  "Rather than regard this as waste to be sent to landfill, we took the view that IBA had value as a resource.  To realise that value, we developed a unique blending process which combines IBA with aggregate to create IBAA, a high quality, sustainable and low cost product.  That was back in 2007, and since then we have used our knowledge and experience to develop what is today widely recognised as Europe's most advanced IBA recycling facility."


The IBAA manufacturing process comprises a number of key stages.  To begin with, Johnsons Aggregates and Recycling collects IBA from the energy from waste facilities which generate it and transports it to one of its two operating centres, Ilkeston or Bunny, which are located to the south of Nottingham. Once the IBA has been certified as non-hazardous, the recycling process begins. This involves various stages including screening, sizing, magnetic separation and the application of other technologies to separate any ferrous and non-ferrous metals, leaving just pure IBA.


While the metallic components are recycled, the IBA is handed over to the company's Aggregates team which adds aggregate to the mix and grades and tests the resultant IBAA material to ensure it meets EN and Highways Agency specifications.


"At that point we have a product which can be sold back to our construction industry customers nationwide," says Lewis.  "To date, we have processed in the region of a million tonnes of IBA and generated more than two million tonnes of IBAA – which also means we have diverted around a million tonnes of IBA from landfill."


To manage and control the collection and delivery of its aggregate products, Johnsons Aggregates and Recycling is an own-account operator with a 44-strong truck fleet.  Among these are 30 Scania vehicles comprising 27 tippers and three articulated tractor units, which haul bulk trailers.  The company purchases these from its local Scania dealer, Keltruck Nottingham, which is also responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the fleet.

"We have a long-standing relationship with Keltruck that goes back some 20 years or so to when my father first began buying Scania trucks," says Lewis.  "There's no question that Scania produces excellent vehicles and we are convinced that our tippers are simply the best on the road in terms of their reliability, durability,  performance and load carrying capacity


"Our dealer, Keltruck, is a trusted business partner with whom we have a productive partnership which I believe serves us both well.  Occasionally, and inevitably, issues arise and whenever they do, Keltruck is on the case right away.  And as our primary focus is on our business and our customers, we entrust all our maintenance to Keltruck so we also can rest assured in the knowledge that our Scania fleet is being maintained to manufacturer standards."  The maintenance for each truck is covered by a Scania repair and maintenance (R&M) contract, which Johnsons Aggregates and Recycling extends from the two years supplied with Scania for construction vehicles to a full five years.


In order to maximise the efficiency of the fleet, another service provided is Scania's full telematics service, which generates weekly in-depth fleet analysis reports covering both trucks and drivers.  Keltruck's driver trainer works with Johnsons Aggregates and Recycling's own driver trainer to identify any opportunities for improvement.  Regular 'train the trainer' sessions are held so that the required knowledge can be passed on in order to develop the skills of members of the Johnsons Aggregates and Recycling's driving team.  "As users of Scania's telematics service, we have noted a marked improvement in fuel consumption, especially since we began buying the later model Scania trucks," comments Lewis.


The latest cooperation between Keltruck and Johnsons Aggregates and Recycling has seen the company's tipper fleet replaced just two years into their five-year contract cycle.  This has been done to enable Johnsons Aggregates and Recycling to achieve a Transport for London Direct Vision Standard two-star rating for its tippers.  The new vehicles, all of which are P 410 8x4 XTs with Thompson Multimaster bodies, are equipped with cameras to monitor areas outside of the driver's field of vision and Scania city safe windows, which are fitted into the passenger door to  provide visibility of any vulnerable road users at the nearside of the truck.


"As we regularly run into London, meeting the Direct Vision Standard is essential for us," says Lewis.  "Changing so many vehicles at once required a great effort, and I think the fact that we were able to achieve it speaks volumes for all concerned."


For the future, Johnsons Aggregates and Recycling is set for continued growth.  With its IBAA products today regularly used in large-scale projects ranging from home building to infrastructure improvement, demand is running high.  To provide additional capacity, the company is soon to open a third operating centre in Peterborough.  That, together with the extensive range of other services the company provides, points to a bright and sustainable future for this innovative Scania operator.