It could almost be correct to say that John James Keegan has scrap in his blood.

With his father, grandfathers and great-grandfathers all working in the industry, he says there is little else he ever wanted to do.

His scrapyard, Allen and Myers scrap metal merchants, based on Mintsfeet Industrial Estate, Kendal, processes about 8000 tonnes of scrap each year.

However, this figure has grown from about 1200 tonnes in the seven years since John James bought it in 2015.

In May, Allen and Myers’ efforts earned the yard the title of Metals Recycling Business of the Year at the Let’s Recycle awards for Excellence in Recycling and Waste Management 2022.

The business buys scrap metal from a number of sources, including farms, the general public and factories and then sorts and grades it to sell to buyers who sell it to foundries.

“The majority of what we get in might be plumbers’ or electricians’ waste and that kind of thing,” says John James, who is the yard’s managing director.

“We do have a couple of Portacabins in at the moment and we will deal with really big machinery; if there’s a 50-tonne JCB there that needs scrapping then we’ll cut it up and we’ll scrap it, that’s not a problem at all.”

John James worked alongside his father John Keegan, who ran Kendal’s B&J Metals, on the Shap Road Industrial Estate, until it was acquired by Wicks Group in 2020.

Allen and Myers has been in existence since 1943, but when John James bought it in 2015 he knew it needed to grow in order to survive.

He invested in TV, radio and print advertising, as well as offering competitive prices for scrap.

He now employs five people in the one-acre yard and the site is being redeveloped to create more working space.

“I think we won the award because of the work I’ve done to build it up over the years,” says John James.

“I knew when I took it over that the business needed to grow. I knew that I had to get out there and search for business.”

The rapid gearing up of the world economy post-Covid and an increased demand - and higher price - for scrap has been good news for the business.

John James says the market is now falling again as foundries around the world have made up the shortfall.

However, it is the constantly changing nature of the business which he says keeps him getting out of bed every day.

"You never know what's gonna happen

tomorrow," he says.

"Something different always happens in this job. You can have good weeks and bad weeks and things can be a bit uncertain, but it's nice to see different things pop up out of the blue.

“If we weren’t recycling it would just be being thrown in landfill and that’s no good for anybody.”