Barnsley firm's profits to go through the roof

22 October 2010

A Barnsley company that has proved where there’s glass there’s brass is hoping profits will go through the roof with its latest expansion plans.
GB Cullet, which recycles unwanted double-glazing units, is now negotiating a deal with a global supplier to provide broken glass to be turned into loft insulation. Until now all the glass has been recycled back into new glass or reflective beads for road surfaces.
Brothers Gary and Bryn Hopkins, who launched the firm in 2004 with help from their dad James, are also looking at diversifying into new markets such as recycling plastics and possibly wood.
Their expansion plans have been boosted by coaching support from Enterprising Barnsley, which aims to help businesses in the borough grow.
The brothers say turnover has gone up 20 per cent since they started getting coaching and they have taken on three extra members of staff, taking the total workforce at their Wombwell works to 13.
Turnover is forecast to be £1m this year – a far cry from the early days when the company was just Gary and Bryn and one lorry. And the pair are confident about the future.
“In five years time we are looking to double again what we are achieving now. We want to increase our market share and look at a wider range of materials to recycle,” said Gary.
At the moment G B Cullet recycle everything associated with double-glazing from the glass and uPVC to the aluminium and lead. The name Cullet actually means broken glass.
The cullet is passed on to other firms, who either turn it back into glass or road beads. The metals go to scrap metal dealers and the plastics to uPVC recyclers.
“Basically it is 100 per cent recycling,” said Bryn. “We are experts at recycling double-glazing units and don’t want to become general waste recyclers. We believe in sticking with what we are good at.”
GB Cullet recycles about 30,000 tonnes of glass a year, with the double-glazing units coming in from about 60 companies from Lancaster down to Peterborough. The unwanted units may be new off-cuts, spares due to errors in measurements or old units.
And that amount could go up by many thousands of tonnes with the negotiations to supply a global firm that makes loft insulation. The broken glass is melted and spun round in a drum to make strands of insulation - a bit like candy floss.
Gary said: “The potential is for us to supply them hundreds of tonnes a day, which would be great for the business. They are talking to us because we can supply extremely high quality cullet.”
The brothers are also looking at taking in wooden-framed windows and recycling the wood and possibly also plastic bottles, because the plastic is the same as that used in double-glazing.
Gary said the coaching from Enterprising Barnsley has really made a difference to the way they run the business.
“It makes you look at the business differently, because we are used to looking at it in a certain way and that may not necessarily be management style.
“Now instead of running the business we are managing the business and that has made a lot of difference.”
Sharon Marshall, who along with John Mellor, has acted as a coach to Gary and Bryn on behalf of Enterprising Barnsley, said it simply needed the pair to step back and see the bigger picture, which they were now doing.
“It’s the same issue you get with many other companies. They had become lost in the detail and were very involved in the day to day running of the firm, rather than managing the business,” she said.
The Enterprising Barnsley programme offers business support to Barnsley businesses with growth potential.   Enterprising Barnsley has attracted £2.89m investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme. Enterprising Barnsley also runs networking events and provides office space throughout the borough.
For more information go to
Enterprising Barnsley is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency, Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre, University Campus Barnsley and Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to provide an integrated programme of business support. 
For further information, contact James Herbert, marketing and networks manager, on 01226 249590 or email
G B Cullet can be contacted at 01226 270551. The company website is at
Additional media contact: Kate Betts on 01226 766900 or 07910 165 444 or at

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