Three local women who spotted an opportunity to make money from recycling plastic and cardboard are celebrating the success of their first year in business.

ALR Waste Management Ltd, based in Larne, was set up with support from Invest Northern Ireland’s Growth Start Programme. Now, one year on, the company employs six and has established a 100% export market for its recycled product.

The directors, Rosie McDonnell, Sandra Richmond and Linda Todd, all had previous experience of the recycling business. After carrying out research they realised that EU legislation relating to recycling was creating a market for a waste management business.

ALR Waste Management offers manufacturers and retailers an approved means of disposing of packaging and other materials in an environmentally friendly manner. The company then adds value to the waste through careful segregation, cleaning and baling, and then sells it on to recycling firms which reprocess it.

Rosie McDonnell is confident that having created a sound business in their first year, the company can now explore opportunities to diversify. “With the help of the Growth Start scheme we were able to get the business up and running quickly. Now that we have established ourselves we want to look at adding value in other ways including shredding the waste to produce specialist animal bedding, and grinding which could produce plastic granules, allowing us to expand our customer base.”

Graham Davis, Director of Local Economic Development in Invest NI, explains that supporting the establishment of export focused businesses like ALR Waste Management, is a key objective for the agency.

“Increasing the level of exports is vital to our economy and a key part of Invest NI’s strategy. In our first six months we were able to help 33 new businesses start up under the Growth Start programme, which supports businesses with the potential to target the export market.

“Through the programme we have committed over £1 million, and helped to lever over £2.6 million from the private sector to support new businesses.”