The partnership announced yesterday that Lincolnshire County Council had granted planning permission to a massive expansion to Eco Plastics’ sorting centre that will allow the site to provide almost 50 per cent of the UK’s plastics recycling capacity.
Coca-Cola said the move was integral in enabling it to meet its target to boost the rPET content in its UK bottles to 25 per cent by the end of next year.
The development will see the Eco Plastics expand its capacity by 40 per cent to 140,000 tonnes a year – almost half the amount of UK plastic bottles collected in 2010. Of this, 40,000 tonnes will be food grade rPET pellet - an increase of 25,000 tonnes per year from the plant’s current capacity and almost 70 per cent of domestic production.
The company said it would now develop a purpose built facility to run in tandem with its existing plant - creating 30 new jobs in the process. Work is slated to begin in the summer and be finished in around 12 months.
Coca-Cola has signed a 10-year contract for the rPET flakes and agreed to put up a third of the capital expenditure.
Coke’s rPET target
The partners said the agreement is the first of its kind in Britain and will see Eco Plastics source, sort and clean used plastics. These will then be made into rPET flakes and, once extruded into food-grade rPET pellets, will be utilised to produce preforms which will be blown into bottles for the drinks outfit.
Peter Gangsted, Eco Plastics chairman said the deal marked the next phase in his company’s development.
“This project represents a major milestone for addressing the recycling challenges in this country,” said Coke commercial recycling manager Nick Brown. “Coca-Cola Enterprises has committed to incorporating 25 per cent of rPET pellet into all our plastic bottles in Britain by 2012 and our investment with Eco Plastics is key for making this a reality.”