LDC Top 50 2022
Carlton Forest Group
Mark Pepper wants to revolutionise tyre recycling and contribute to the net zero agenda. By divesting profits from Carlton Forest Group, his third-party logistics business in Nottinghamshire, Pepper has built the UK’s first continuous pyrolysis plant for end-of-life tyres (ELTs).
The plant converts ELTs into oil, which can be refined into biofuel or chemicals, and over the next year he expects to recover four million litres of eco-pyrolysis oil from eight thousand tonnes of tyre shred. “The world’s biggest tyre graveyard is in Kuwait. You can see it from space,” he says. “One of my goals is to help tackle this environmental challenge.”
Always listen, always challenge, be prepared to be the only guy in the room who doesn’t perhaps get it, you may very well be right!”
What made you join the family business?
My father had a struggling pig farming business and, when that didn’t work out, he flipped to storage, and he needed the support. As such I spent my summer holidays in the shed’s forklifting, loading, and unloading pallets of fertiliser, bricks, and flour. I joined the business properly in my 20s and started to look at how we could make improvements and drive growth.
What sparked your interest in renewables?
I saw end-of-life tyres from our fleet being taken for recycling and wondered if they could be put to better use. That started a 10-year project on pyrolysis – the thermal decomposition of scrap tyres into green oil and carbon char. I travelled to different countries to investigate processes, acquired the manufacturing arm of a business in South Africa and employed some of the best pyrolysis engineers in the world.
What advice would you pass on to other business leaders?
I’m dyslexic and left school with just five GCSEs. Everything is self-taught for me. Always ask questions and don’t be afraid that it will show your naivety on the subject, if it doesn’t make sense, persist until it does. Always listen, always challenge, be prepared to be the only guy in the room who doesn’t perhaps get it, you may very well be right!