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Kleen Strike celebrates 30 years of business

July 10, 2013

front profile- New Premises

Kleen Strike’s new premises

UK remanufacturer’s Laura Heywood recounts the company’s highlights over the past 30 years.

Based in Rochdale, UK, Kleen Strike has announced that it is celebrating 30 years of business in the remanufacturing industry this year, with Laura Heywood, Director of the company, explaining to The Recycler that the company was established by herself and her partner, Don Barker, “during one of the worst recessions since the war” at a time when “matrix printer and typewriter ribbons were the main methods of printing in offices”.

The company therefore began business by offering a ribbon cartridge reloading service, with Heywood explaining: “By inking our own nylon, we made sure we had total control over the quality of product we offered. This went a long way in establishing a code of practice that we’ve followed through the years.”

Heywood goes on to note how in the early years, consumers were attracted by the cheapness of the products rather than the environmental benefits, and that the environmental focus was more on the safe disposal of products rather than their total impact or product life cycle analysis (LCA).

As the trend for businesses to use laser printers took off, Heywood recalls that “a few saw an opportunity” to begin refilling toner cartridges, and it is this direction that Kleen Strike took. “We knew we had to change with the times. We took on the challenge, gained knowledge and began remanufacturing toner cartridges too.”

Alistair Barker, Production Director at Kleen Strike, explains that it was not all smooth sailing for the company, with challenges over the years including flooding, burglary and vandalism and even a lightning strike. “When companies are encouraged to have a disaster recovery plan in place, my advice is it may be a good idea to have one,” Barker concluded; although he added that “we were never in a position we couldn’t recover quickly [from] and carry on with business as usual. It sounds like a lot but over 30 years we were very lucky.”

Heywood added: “To understand the current issues and challenges, we joined a trade association where members were facing the same industry concerns.  We felt a certain confidence knowing we were facing challenges together as well as sharing and discussing topics that affected our industry.”  Heywood was also elected General Secretary of UKCRA, allowing her to become more actively involved in industry issues.

The Recycler reported on how Kleen Strike was forced to move premises at the end of last year due to the estate in which the company had resided for 27 years being sold and demolished.

Looking to the future, Heywood said:  “I couldn’t even begin to predict [what the future for Kleen Strike will be], but I know we’ve taken a new direction again.  We will continue to protect our customer base, target new business by understanding the shifting market and be flexible enough to change with it.”

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