Boost for UK processors seeking food grade recycled plastic

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Recyclable materials

UK food and drink manufacturers are set to gain from the opening of a new plastic bottle recycling facility in North Wales.

Closed Loop Recycling has announced that Deeside in Flintshire, Wales will be the chosen location for its second plastic bottle recycling site in the UK.

The recycling centre will be able to convert polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastics back into food grade raw materials for use in new plastic packaging, claims Closed Loop.

The plastic is washed, cleaned and ground into granules to be melted down and then turned into packaging material.

The Wales site is in addition to the Closed Loop facility in Dagenham, London which started operating in June this year and which has capacity for the processing of 35,000 of plastic bottles on an annual basis.

According to the company, the Dagenham site is set to produce its first food grade materials next month.

Nick Cliffe, marketing manager, Closed Loop Recycling told FoodProductionDaily.com that the new plant in Deeside, will open in October 2009 and will be larger than the London operation, with planned capacity being 50,000 tonnes a year.

“The two plants will be able to process over 1 billion plastic water, milk and soft drink bottles annually into new food grade packaging,”​ claims Cliffe.

“Veolia Environmental Services takes responsibility to ensure we have sufficient supply of post-consumer plastic bottles but we also receive bottles from other sources such as old stock from a plastic bottling plant,”​ he added.

Industry reaction

Hubert Patricot, Managing Director Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), in relation to the opening of the Closed Loop facility in Dagenham said: “Sustainable packaging is something we are committed to. We have a goal to use on average 25 per cent recycled PET across CCE's European operations by the end of 2010.

“We are delighted that Closed Loop Recycling's plant in London will help us purchase recycled PET here in the UK. It is very encouraging to see a process that allows waste to be collected from UK consumers, reprocessed locally, with the recycled product being put back to use in our factories across the UK."

Further expansion

Cliffe said that Closed Loop has plans to develop similar recycling facilities all over the UK in the next three to four years, and sites are currently being sourced in various locations.

“There is a huge demand for food grade recycled plastic in the UK. The complete output of our Dagenham recycling plant was sold before we produced a granule,”​ said Cliffe.

Cliffe said that they have already received commitments from brands such as CCE and Nampak to buy 60 per cent of the food grade plastic output from the planned Wales facility.

Study

According to the UK’s Local Authority Plastics Collection Survey 2008, the total number of plastic bottles entering the UK waste stream is approximately 525,000 tonnes a year, which is equivalent to 13 billion bottles.

The study found that 4.5 billion bottles were being recycled but an estimated eight billion wee being exported or sent to landfill.

Waste reduction

The UK's Local Government Association (LGA) in May called for food manufacturers and retailers to fund the cost of collecting packaging waste to encourage them to reduce the amount of packaging used on their products.

The LGA's demand followed their second report into the weight of retailer packaging and how much of it can be recycled.

The research showed that up to 38 per cent of packaging in a regular household shopping basket cannot be recycled.

The study also revealed that Lidl and Marks & Spencer had the lowest level of packaging that could be recycled, at 62 per cent, while Asda's packaging came top, with 69 per cent of it recyclable.

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