OKAY Engineering targets carbon neutrality with Lloyds Bank investment

Posted on 12 Dec 2023 by The Manufacturer

An East Midlands manufacturer is driving sustainable growth, supported by a £1.3m investment from Lloyds Bank.

Headquartered in Desborough, Northamptonshire, OKAY Engineering designs and manufactures high-performance recycling equipment and waste handling technology. This includes providing local authorities with the technology to separate the mixed recycling it collects from homes, as well as providing recycling equipment for manufacturers and commercial organisations processing waste materials.

OKAY plans to become fully carbon neutral within ten years. Thanks to £187,000 of funding from Lloyds Bank, the £9m turnover business has just boosted its green credentials by installing 425 solar panels on its factory roof. The 200MWh system now provides two-thirds of the company’s energy demand, reducing energy bills by £1m over the panels’ 25-year lifetime. The new measures will also save 40 tonnes of CO2 production each year, the equivalent of planting 1,728 trees.

The solar panels have been funded via Lloyds Bank’s Clean Growth Financing Initiative, which provides customers with access to discounted lending for green purposes.

Earlier in the year, Lloyds Bank also invested £1.14m to help OKAY purchase three acres of brownfield land behind its current factory. The plan is to use one acre of the adjacent site to build a second factory to serve demand from the rapidly growing recycling industry, and the remaining two acres is earmarked for a solar farm so the company can become entirely energy self-sufficient, as well as create a second income stream selling its surplus renewable energy. The company’s expansion and investment plans also include the team of 50 at OKAY learning new skills to automate its production lines and introduce AI.

The business has also switched 30% of its vehicles to electric vehicles, installing two charging stations onsite, and it is also upgrading its manufacturing equipment to more energy efficient models. This is all part of its aims to become carbon neutral within the next ten years.

OKAY Engineering
OKAY Engineering designs and manufactures high-performance recycling equipment and waste handling technology

In addition to the funding from Lloyds Bank, OKAY Engineering has taken advantage of the government’s research and development (R&D) tax relief scheme, which allows SMEs to claim corporation tax relief for investing in innovation. It’s also working to boost the diversity of its workforce with the launch of its own apprenticeship scheme, through which it hopes to attract more young people and women into the business and the sector.

Antonia Kay, Managing Director of OKAY Engineering, said: “The recycling industry and circular economy are becoming increasingly vital sectors for the UK as we work to achieve net zero. OKAY is an integral part of this transition, with both the know-how and the UK production capabilities to deliver high-performance recycling technology.

“We have experience in handling of all types of waste and, as a British manufacturer, we are looking to deploy our high performance recycling equipment in ever more applications. We have big investment plans that will ultimately help drive the UK’s recycling figures to where they need to be. We’re grateful to have Lloyds Bank by our side as a trusted partner to support us with our long-term strategy.

“As a business that innovates green technology, it’s essential for us to prioritise sustainability in all our operations. The funding from Lloyds Bank has enabled us to invest in a solution that won’t only reduce our bills, but also reduce our impact on the environment. The solar panels deliver a clear financial and carbon payback, and they help make us the partner of choice for our customers.”

OKAY Engineering
OKAY Engineering has just boosted its green credentials by installing 425 solar panels on its factory roof

Richard Fear, Relationship Manager at Lloyds Bank, said: “As well as supporting OKAY with the investment it needs to achieve its goals, we’re also proud to see the business taking advantage of the government’s R&D tax credits, which has given a valuable boost to OKAY and to the UK’s manufacturing sector more widely.

“The business’s inclusive skills strategy also aligns closely with our commitment to supporting the development of a diverse talent pipeline in vital sectors such as manufacturing, and we’re proud that our funding is enabling this local business to contribute to the community and the future of the sector.”

For more stories on Sustainability click here.