Scottish Company Opens New Grimsby Site – Presenting Opportunity To Address Demand For Washing Plastic Crates

PPS recently completed the acquisition of TFA Box Company in Grimsby and has made a £500k further investment in the business. The investment has been for new premises and wash equipment for plastic crates within the food industry, and also upgrading existing facilities. As part of the re-structuring of the group and to maintain the corporate identity of the group, TFA has now been re-branded as PPS East.

PPS specialises in providing services linked to returnable transit equipment (RTE) supplied primarily to the food industry. There is a growing demand, driven by all industrial sectors to use returnable or reusable packaging instead of one way or single journey packaging. PPS recently commissioned a survey, carried out by the Humber Seafood Institute to measure carbon footprint emissions for their returnable plastic boxes and crates compared to single use packaging such as cardboard boxes or expanded polystyrene (EPS) boxes, used largely in the fishing and aquaculture sectors. The result showed a 52% carbon footprint emission improvement compared to cardboard and a substantial 89% improvement versus EPS boxes.

PPS East offers what it terms its “full service option” to clients for returnable packaging – it provides RTE (plastic crates, boxes or pallets) on a rental basis, collects the used equipment from third parties, washes it, repairs it where necessary and then the operation repeats itself. It may also be termed the “integrated loop system”. PPS has successfully been providing such services to the poultry and dairy sectors for a number of years from its Midlands location, and the Grimsby expansion is seen as part of an ambitious expansion programme into the fishing industry.

The Scottish aquaculture sector has traditionally used EPS boxes for deliveries to processing plants on Humberside but PPS believes that now, with a modern wash plant in Grimsby, the fish farming sector will be more amenable to considering converting to returnable boxes. The other key advantage here is that using the PPS system results in a cost saving per despatch to the fish farm.

PPS also has an industrial wash site at Measham, known as PPS Midlands servicing the food sector throughout the UK. PPS Midlands is accredited to ISO 22000 and the processes and procedures to attain this same accreditation are currently under way at PPS East.

Although PPS strongly promotes its full service options for RTE, they acknowledge that certain customers may only require certain parts of their full offering. For example wash-only contracts are very common, where a customer manages his own pool of trays or crates, but has no facility to wash them (or at least not to an acceptable standard). In this case PPS can provide short- medium- or long-term wash contracts. It should also be noted here that crate washing for example is not just a case of running the crate through the automated wash line and hoping for the best. PPS has a policy of creating a unique Wash Specification for each customer, based on that customers requirements and critically what has been in the crate before washing.

There have been instances of PPS turning away potential contract wash business if they felt there may be a risk of cross-contamination with food crates being washed for the food companies. PPS always requests samples of the soiled crates or boxes for trial washing before committing itself to any wash contract – in the past they have turned down washing for customers due to boxes sent in with broken glass, engine oil or battery acid.

And, as part of their very strict hygiene rules (and as determined in ISO 22000) PPS performs microbiological “swab” tests several times during each shift. All these tests are logged and recorded.

At their Midlands location PPS can wash a variety of plastic crates and boxes – nestable, collapsible and attached lid. They also have an automated pallet wash line, capable of washing standard 1200 x 1000mm pallets and also the smaller Europallet. The company has added a bin wash unit, capable of washing plastic tubs, bins and pallet boxes.

And just to complete their service offering PPS now offers a repair service for various articles of RTE.

The joint owners of PPS (East and Midlands) are two expatriate Scots, David Peggie and Iain McArthur, both based at the company’s Midlands location.

Iain McArthur said “We set up the business in Edinburgh some years ago, but as we expanded, we found our customer base spread throughout the UK, from the North of Scotland to West Wales to Cornwall and all points in between. It was more practical therefore to re-locate the business to the Midlands as the geographic centre of the country. Although we had met considerable success providing our services to certain sectors of the food industry, we knew very little about the fishing or fish farming sectors. It was for this reason then that we approached what was then TFA Box Company who operated wholly in the fish industry, with a proposal for an acquisition. The TFA staff brought a huge wealth of knowledge about their sector, and we provided certain operational, management and marketing skills to the mix. Having made substantial investments at Grimsby we intend that PPS East will be something of a showcase operation and we encourage all existing and new potential customers to visit us or talk to us about how we may be able to provide services for returnable transit equipment, such as plastic crates. After all, we can not only save you money we’re improving your carbon footprint emissions!”

All of the services PPS provide are viewable via their website. To find out more information you can contact a member of the PPS by calling 01530 515 333, or by filling out their ‘Contact Us’ form.

PPS is an established company that has many years experience within the Returnable Transit Equipment trade. To see how they can improve the efficiency of your business, visit

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