A recycling company with a difference

Founded on three core pillars of: positive social impact, environmental innovation and commercial ambition, Recycling Lives champions sustainability and the circular economy within their sector.

The UK recycling and waste management business, which offers vehicle and metal processing and waste management solutions across its 23 sites, not only has a heart for the environment, but wider society too. Using its commercial operations, the company delivers positive impact across both the environment and society by supporting former service personnel, ex-offenders, and disadvantaged people to build better lives by providing support, training and employment opportunities within the company.

Recycling Lives is committed to accelerating environmental innovation to reduce environmental damage, using optimal efficiencies and patented technology to ensure the maximum amount of waste material is recycled. An example being its 'Energy from Waste' solution; annually, around 2 million end-of-life vehicles (ELV) are produced in the UK [1]. Recycling Lives recycles the parts they can and the remaining Automotive Shredder Residue (ASR) amounts to about 25% of ELV mass left. Of this, they currently recover 20%, leaving 5% which goes to landfill [2]. This 5% is now being addressed through Recycling Lives’ ground-breaking solution with a view to reaching Zero ASR landfill in four years’ time. And they do this using 100% renewable energy across all their sites and offices, saving 4,071 tonnes of CO2 every year.

In December 2022 Recycling Lives received B Corp certification, recognising the company’s commitment to delivering positive social impact, driving a sustainable circular economy and making its operations greener year-on-year.

Supporting growth through £40.3m ABL facility

Looking for funding for refinancing and working capital purposes, Recycling Lives turned to its investor board – Three Hills Capital Partners, and NatWest for advice and support.
As a new-to-bank relationship, the NatWest team spent time with Recycling Lives to understand their business and future ambitions in some detail. Following those discussions, the NatWest team structured a £40.3 million Asset-Based Leading (ABL) facility to provide sufficient liquidity to refinance/repay existing borrowing, and offer some financial headroom for working capital and any potential acquisitions. An additional £10 million facility was also agreed with Lombard – NatWest’s asset finance business – to help fund the company’s investment in new equipment.

Adding a sustainability link to the facility

Motivated by Recycling Lives’ strong ESG credentials and new B Corp status, the ESG Advisory specialists within the NatWest team then added two sustainability-linked KPIs to the ABL facility: 1) Circular Economy – Recycling Lives’ ability to reduce the % of total waste diverted to landfill; and 2) Social Value creation from Recycling Lives’ own social programmes. Assuming these KPIs are met during the facility’s term, Recycling Lives will qualify for a rebate on the interest it pays, which they can either use for charitable purposes or for enhancing their ESG processes.

Proud to help accelerate the UK’s sustainability journey

Andrew Hodgson, Chairman at Recycling Lives, commented: “This deal underpins the fact that successful organisations with a strong ESG focus continue to perform from an investment perspective even in an uncertain economic climate. We are delighted to have secured this financing package through a sustainability-linked ABL facility, which not only provides liquidity for our growth plans but also reflects our continued commitment to sustainability. We are very pleased to have found a like-minded banking partner in NatWest, who wants to proactively help build a greener and fairer economy.”

Andrew Barraclough, Head of Regional Asset Based Lending at NatWest, added: “We’re thrilled to play a part in Recycling Lives’ future growth through this inaugural ESG financing, and we’re proud to help accelerate the UK’s sustainability journey by linking banking products to sustainability KPIs. This debut sustainability-linked ABL is also an example of teams within NatWest coming together to deliver the best outcome for our customer, and to achieve this swiftly. Recycling Lives’ purpose aligns closely with our purpose to champion potential and help people, and we’re looking forward to continuing to support Recycling Lives.”

Howard Gillibrand, Relationship Director at NatWest, added: “We’re excited that Recycling Lives have decided to bring their full operational banking to NatWest, and that we’ve been able to help them link their financing with their sustainability objectives. At NatWest, we’re committed to actively help building a greener economy and future by guiding our corporate and institutional customers on their transition to net zero and providing £100 billion Climate and Sustainable Funding and Financing to our customers, such as Recycling Lives, by the end of 2025.”


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