Stand up and be counted Cage Number195 February 2020
A cage is just a cage…or is it? Here we interview Bryant Plastics’ Cage Number 19, which has been commissioned for a lifetime of service with The Linen Group
At a time when pressure is on to reduce the use of single use plastics in the industry, it is worth pointing out the important role that enduring plastic products such as those manufactured by Bryant Plastics play in sustainable operations.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself Number 19?
Yes of course. My name is cage number 19 and I work for The Linen Group and carry linen to and from one of their customers. I was made by Bryant Plastics in Yorkshire especially for the Linen Group.
How long have you been working for the Linen Group?
I have been working for them since 27 of January 2018, my first day of service. All 50 of us came across here to Lancashire and started work on the same day. We were all quite excited really. It’s great doing what you were made to do, and we knew we had been really well made and were desperate to get started in our new jobs.
How many trips have you made in that time?
In November 2019, when you asked if I would do the interview, I had been scanned out of the laundry for 184 trips. I am kept very busy, and I like that.
How do you get on with your workmates?
We get on great. At first, they weren’t sure because we were the first plastic cages that The Linen Group had to work with but now we all get on great.
Our human workmates love us because we are lighter than our metal colleagues and have bigger castors which makes us easier to manoeuvre. We were confident that we would all get on; we just worked away alonººgside them and now they all think we are marvellous, a win-win really.
The other thing that staff recognised was that we have no areas where their fingers can get trapped, although I think it took them a while to realise that no one had had their fingers injured when using us.
Tarik Saleem, The Linen Group
The lorries and vans love us because we don’t scrape and mark their paintwork and interiors the way the metal cages do and the hotels love us because we don’t scuff and chip the doors, walls and paintwork the way our metal colleagues do either.
What made you come to The Linen Group to work?
Our boss, Tarik Saleem, managing director at The Linen Group, won a contract that stipulated only plastic cages were to be used. He wasn’t too happy about that, but business is business, so he purchased 50 of us and I am Cage Number 19. He had always thought that we were too expensive, but he soon changed his mind once he had us on board.
So what changed his mind?
Tarik says one huge advantage of having us on board is that no one ‘borrows’ plastic cages. He was purchasing anywhere between 50 and 100 cages per year @ £100 + vat per cage just to top up the ones going missing and to date we haven’t ‘lost’ one plastic cage. Tariq says there are now 361 of us plastic cages working for the Linen Group and we service 3500 hotel bedrooms. That’s what I call progress.
When do you hope to retire?
Well, I am not sure, I want to work as long as I can really. I have colleagues at other laundries who are more than 15 years old. I know that their old boss did a survey, and our average working life expectancy is around seven and a half years.
I hope to be useful after I retire from the laundry industry, as our bodies are made from virgin Medium Density Polyethylene which means we are 100% recyclable. Who knows what I will do in the future, what I will become? The world is my oyster.