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Award-Winning Plastics Recycling and Manufacturing


A director of the award-winning, fast-growing plastics recycling and manufacturing company, Plastecowood, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Henning von Spreckelsen will be admitted to the Academy, which comprises 1,600 distinguished engineers at its AGM on 20 September 2022.

As a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Mr von Spreckelsen will continue his long-standing passion for promoting profitable engineering excellence for public benefit.

He will engage with and further the Academy’s work which is both wide and diverse, including participating in entrepreneurship ventures and mentorship of the next generation of engineers.

For over 30 years Mr von Spreckelsen has worked closely with the senior management teams of innovative British companies and together they have developed profitable ground-breaking technological solutions to complex problems.

One such problem was addressing the urgent need to recycle and reuse mixed plastic packaging waste and prevent millions of pieces going to landfill or incineration each year. The seven year old company, Plastecowood developed a unique recycling and processing technology for plastic waste and created an attractive and robust, carbon negative material called Smartawood™ – this is used to manufacture lumber to make a vast array of products (including fencing, pallets, gardening and playground equipment) substituting the need for making steel, concrete or chopping down forests.

Plastecowood is contributing to environmental sustainability by preventing more than 40 million pieces of plastic waste going to landfill every year and this will increase over time. This achievement received a prestigious Santander X Environmental Challenge award last year, which has brought the company greater international recognition. Plastecowood expects to turnover £3m in the coming year and £5m by 2025.

Mr von Spreckelsen said, “Combining our collective skills has enabled us to make great strides at Plastecowood and achieve our mission to save vast amounts of mixed waste plastic packaging from going to landfill or incineration.

“Engineering skills are vital to the creation of exciting and sustainable solutions that will take us closer to a net zero society. I’m proud to have used my engineering experience, gained over many years working with innovative businesses, to help make a difference. One of the turning points in my pure engineering career was gaining an MBA at IMD Business School in my mid-20s, thanks to a substantial scholarship from Sainsbury Management Fellows (SMF). International business education gave me a solid foundation and insight that enabled me to build a career as an entrepreneur and investor working with dynamic businesses with big visions.

“Moreover, SMF provides a network of brilliant engineers to whom I could turn for support over the years and likewise lend members my support. One of the most rewarding aspects of being part of the SMF network is our commitment to mentoring engineers from all walks of life - I have enjoyed mentoring dozens of young engineers who, no doubt, are making their mark on the world.

“I am honoured to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, which does pioneering work, and I very much look forward to supporting the Academy in harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and inclusive economy.”

Commenting on the appointment of the 72 new Fellows including Mr von Spreckelsen, Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said:

“I am delighted to welcome such an array of enormously talented people to the Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering. From industry and enterprise to education and government – both national and international – these are some of our most pioneering and distinguished engineers and technologists.

“In an uncertain world, one thing is certain – engineering skills, vision and leadership will play a crucial part in addressing the escalating domestic and global challenges that we face today. The combined connectivity, professionalism, experience and wisdom of the new Fellows who join us today will greatly enrich the expertise and support we can provide to the government and to society in general.”


Henning von Spreckelsen, MEng MBA, CEng MIET - Director, Plastecowood Limited

Henning von Spreckelsen has worked in senior management positions in companies large and small, with experience in chemicals, plastics, automation and packaging, as well as founding several engineering-based companies, applying a world-class manufacturing approach. He is investor, adviser and non-executive director to several companies, in engineering and intellectual property-driven industries such as MRI system manufacture, marine lighting, recycled plastic waste, foreign exchange algorithms and digital metadata with a focus on child protection. Henning is a Chartered Electrical Engineer, a Sainsbury Management Fellow, has an MBA from IMD Business School (Switzerland) and is a Trustee of the Engineers in Business Fellowship, which awards the SMF MBA scholarship. Henning is a board member of the Small Business Charter, set up by Lord Young of Grafham, which assesses the performance of UK business schools in their work with small companies.

Royal Academy of Engineering

Learn more about the mission and work of the Royal Academy of Engineering and its Fellows.


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