MARCH 2012

UK boosts plastics recycling

Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) announced that the UK’s capability to recycle plastic packaging has been given a further boost with funding provided to recycle an additional 16,500 tons of rigid plastic packaging at ECO Plastics’ facility in Lincolnshire.

The $1.8 million loan from WRAP will enable ECO Plastics to extend its existing bottle sorting and processing facility, to now recycle a total of 165,000 tons of plastics annually. The investment complements the joint venture that the business formed with Coca-Cola Enterprises last year and will mean that its Hemswell facility is better able to process rigid plastic packaging such as tubs, pots and trays, as well as plastic bottles.

Following WRAP’s funding of the Biffa Polymers plant in Redcar in 2010, this is another important step towards building the reprocessing infrastructure that the UK needs to effectively recycle more plastic resources.

It is important that rigid plastic packaging is effectively recycled, and if not carried out properly, rigid plastics can contaminate the highly valuable plastic bottle waste stream. As the UK’s capacity to process non-bottle plastics packaging grows, it will ultimately become viable for local authorities to routinely collect non-bottle plastics packaging from households at curbside.

Over the next three to five years, WRAP aims to support higher recycling rates for all plastics packaging, but in a way that allows quality to be maintained so that the best environmental and economic outcomes can also be achieved. WRAP aims to increase the UK’s capacity to recycle its rigid plastic packaging by 110,000 tons per year through the Mixed Plastics Loan Fund.

The facility, based in North Lincolnshire, will employ an additional 12 local people, creating sustainable jobs in addition to further developing the UK’s green economy with home grown processing and manufacturing.