Making a mountain out of a paper hill
With towering bundles of paper, plastic and cardboard, recycling firm Paper Mountain is true to its name.
In the yard of the company’s site, bales of recyclable goods mount up waiting to be shipped overseas.
Hidden from the road heading into Gosport, the family-run firm sorts, shreds, bundles and bales tonnes of material for businesses across the south.
Gosport’s biggest employer Huhtamaki, a packaging firm, uses Paper Mountain for its recycling of paper cups, cartons and napkins.
Other organisations such as Gosport Borough Council, the Metropolitan Police and Chichester City Council also use the firm to shred their confidential waste.
Managing director Jensen Lunn gave The News a tour of the site explaining why recycling is so important and what happens to the material after it comes to Paper Mountain. He took over the company, off Fareham Road, from his parents Sue and Mike who still help with the day-to-day running.
Along with partner Vicky Barker and sister Sarah Wilkinson, Jensen is looking to the future and the expansion of Paper Mountain.
The 42-year-old says: ‘We are the only recycling company in Gosport and because of that, we have grown lots in the last few years. We have just grown and grown. In the last few years the recycling industry has boomed.
‘When we first moved to this site, we were filling one container a month with material. Now we are doing 60 containers. We get 30 tonnes of cardboard a month from just one company.
‘A lot of businesses are catching on that putting materials into landfills is not the way forward.
‘Rather than pay to landfill, in some circumstances we will pay to take it away. The more we have to recycle, the more money we get so we can offer to pick it up for free.’
Having expanded in the last few years, Paper Mountain now serves a number of businesses in the south.
It collects paper, plastic and cardboard from Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport, Southampton and from as far as Romsey and Chichester.
Vans also get sent up to London to collect confidential waste from schools and colleges.
Jensen adds: ‘People like to use us because we are a big company which can do the job but at competitive prices.
‘We pride ourselves in the service we offer – that is everything to us.
‘If we say a truck is coming at a certain time, it will be there. If it is running late, we will get in touch and let the customer know.’
It is not just big companies that use Paper Mountain either. Smaller businesses in and around Gosport are regular customers thanks to its wheelie bin scheme.
The commercial bins are provided for free for any business and Paper Mountain arranges for them to be picked up – also for free.
One area the company is looking to expand into is the man-in-a-van services. It can pick up the cardboard and drop it off, getting money in return.
Once Paper Mountain receives the recycling waste, it is broken down and sorted.
Plastic has to be separated into different colours and the paper gets shredded.
The company recently bought a new bale machine which can work quicker than other equipment.
Paper is dropped off the back of a lorry into a pit which carries it onto a conveyor belt.
After going through the machinery, it comes out as a bale making it easier to store and ship. Once material is baled, it is put on a lorry and taken to Southampton docks.
From there it is exported to places like China and India which pay more for recycling waste.
And the recycling industry is something Jensen is passionate about.
‘I love recycling,’ he said.
‘I love what I do and spreading the message of what we do as a company.
‘When we get a new customer, I enjoy telling them about the importance of recycling their waste.’
With an increase in customers, Paper Mountain needs more space and Jensen is looking for a new site.
He says it needs to be about four times the size of its current home but it wants to stay in the Gosport area.
Jensen adds: ‘As we grow, I want to keep the core values we have which is our customer service.
‘I also want to continue with the paper shredding because that is how we started. That aspect is important to me.’
A history of Paper Mountain
ALTHOUGH the current business Paper Mountain is all about recycling, the Lunns’ original firm was a removals company.a
Purvers International, which was established in 1909, was taken over by Mike and Sue Lunn who kept up the company’s name. But with the introduction of storage companies and vans being available for hire, the removal industry started to struggle.
Wanting to adapt to keep Purvers International going, Mike and Sue started offering to shred confidential documents.
Their son Jensen, who is managing director of Paper Mountain, says: ‘Within the removal firm site, mum and dad already stored documents for big companies like BAE Systems and the Metropolitan Police.
‘They used to store the documents and then another company would collect and shred them.
‘My parents thought shredding was something they could do so they bought a little shredder.’
With the shredding business becoming so popular, the Lunn family decided to close Purvers International and focus on Paper Mountain.
Jensen adds: ‘We closed the removal company about 10 years ago and invested everything we had in Paper Mountain.’
Since starting the business, it has already moved sites after it outgrew the Purvers International premises.
‘We just grew rapidly so had to find a bigger site,’ Jensen says.
‘That was two-and-a-half years ago and now our current place is just about big enough.’