A trailblazing firm which uses plastic waste to surface roads has opened its first factory.

MacRebur is already working with Cumbria County Council on a £1.6m highways project, having used its materials on Scotland Road in Carlisle.

And the men behind the business - which has already had a global impact - hope the opening of their new plant will play its part in turning the tide on ocean pollution as public concern about plastic waste grows.

The site, on the Broomhouses Industrial Estate in Lockerbie, has led to the creation of 12 jobs.

The company launched in 2016, the brainchild of Toby McCartney - a former pupil of Dalston’s Lime House School - and friends Gordon Reid and Nick Burnett, who live near Eaglesfield.

Their factory will be used to granulate rubbish which would otherwise have gone to landfill. These granules will be mixed with MacRebur’s activator, which makes the plastic bind, and bagged to be distributed to asphalt producers.

And the plant will provide the blueprint for other factories which the company is seeking to license, having already signed agreements for its first two licensed factories in Europe.

Mr McCartney said: “The opening of our first factory is an important milestone in our mission to tackle two issues – plastic waste and potholed roads.”

He added: “Our ultimate aim is for local rubbish to be used in local roads and MacRebur factories will help us achieve this by allowing waste plastic to be processed and mixed with our additive for use in asphalt.

“We are delighted to have licensed our first two factories already and have received fantastic support from asphalt producers in Scotland, the rest of the UK and abroad who are keen to use our product.

“Some of our roads have been in situ for two years now and the results of our testing have shown that MacRebur works, which means there is a huge opportunity for everyone who is using asphalt, whether for private or public projects, to do the right thing and use plastic waste for the good of our planet.”

The MacRebur mix allows the bitumen used in the production of asphalt to be extended and enhanced, reducing the amount of fossil fuel used. In every tonne of MacRebur mix, the equivalent of about 76,000 bottles or 200,000 bags are used. On a 1km stretch of road, the equivalent of approximately 684,000 bottles or 1.8m single-use plastic bags would be used.

“Our technology means that we can not only help solve the problem of plastic waste but also produce roads that cope better with changes in the weather, reducing cracks and potholes,” Mr McCartney said. “That’s because our roads are more flexible thanks to the properties of the plastic used in them. Although a MacRebur road looks the same as any other, it has improved strength and