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Innovative Frome business transforms waste plastic into building materials

Staff at Frome Town Council recently visited Frome-based firm Protomax, to find out about its using recycled plastic to make sustainable building materials. 

The council is keen to encourage local businesses to reduce waste and operate more sustainably.

Its latest initiative is to support Frome-based firm Protomax to connect with architects and construction companies operating in the area, with the aim of encouraging sustainable building practices throughout the town.

Protomax’s technology is unique in that it can recycle any type of plastic waste into useful materials. For example, they produce durable plastic boards as an alternative to environmentally destructive wood-based materials such as MDF and chipboard.

The boards are used in a diverse range of contexts including hoarding, construction, shop fitting, and signage. BBC ‘Points West’ recently featured Protomax’s flat-pack emergency shelter, which can provide temporary housing in disaster zones.

Cllr Jean Boulton commented, “Protomax exemplifies the sort of innovation and environmental and social responsibility that we are keen to support.”

During a recent visit to the site coordinated by Frome Town Council, the firm welcomed local architects Graham Burgess, Terry Pinto and Mark Brierley, together with David Saunders and Nick Calvert of Bristol Power and Sustainable Britain respectively.

The group had the opportunity to watch firsthand the transformation of waste plastic into building materials. There was widespread enthusiasm about the product and its potential applications from insulation to cladding, from hoarding to kitchen surfaces.

Local architect Terry Pinto said, “It is great to see a positive sustainable use for a material which is notionally very harmful to the environment.  Protomax has turned my attitude totally around and I am looking forward to the opportunity to use it extensively in our low carbon architectural projects in a variety of original ways.”

Following the visit, local builder Nick Reynolds plans to use Protomax’s weather-proof boards to construct a single-pitch porch for one of his clients.