Alex Smiles waste management company falls into administration triggering 50 job losses

Sunderland waste management firm has closed its gates after more than 40 years in business

Alex Smiles Ltd provides waste management services across the North East
Alex Smiles Ltd provides waste management services across the North East

Waste management firm Alex Smiles has closed following the loss of a major contract, causing 50 redundancies.

The Sunderland-based business, which specialised in the collection, processing and recycling of waste materials, fell into administration earlier this month.

Steven Ross and Allan Kelly, both of Baker Tilly Restructuring and Recovery, were appointed to the Deptford-headquartered operation on May 7 following the loss of a significant contract.

Alex Smiles has since stopped trading and 50 staff made redundant, with a small number of employees staying on to assist in the winding up for the company.

Baker Tilly said it was currently working to sell off the firm’s assets in order to pay creditors.

The firm was originally set up by husband and wife, Alex and Jane Smiles, who grew it to employ as many as 80 staff at one point.

From its Sunderland base the firm developed its recycling operations from just construction hardcore and metals to include over seven different recyclables.

Earlier this year it emerged the firm had been served with three legal notices by the Environment Agency relating to over-accumulation of waste at its nine-acre site.

One of the notices required the firm to re-organise waste piles at the site which were said to pose a fire hazard.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Following our regular inspections we discovered a number of issues on the site at Deptford Terrace in Sunderland.

“Since the end of February we have served the company with three legal notices which means they cannot now accept any more waste onto the site and must reduce levels of certain types of waste back to the amounts set out in their environmental permit.

“Although the site is not allowed to accept any more waste, it can deal with the waste already there, including a requirement to reorganise it to reduce the potential risk of fire.

“We will be monitoring this situation closely and considering further action should we need to, working with other organisations to ensure the waste site is managed correctly.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer