WRAP is delighted to announce that the UK’s capability to recycle plastic packaging has been given a further boost this week with funding provided to recycle an additional 15,000 tonnes of rigid plastic packaging at ECO Plastics’ facility in Lincolnshire.
The £1.15million loan from WRAP will enable ECO Plastics to extend its existing bottle sorting and processing facility, to now recycle a total of 150,000 tonnes 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 now 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 of our plastic resources.
It is important that rigid plastic packaging is effectively recycled as if not carried out properly rigid plastics can contaminate the highly valuable plastic bottle waste stream – which would not be good for the economy or the environment. 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 kerbside.
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 100,000 tonnes per year through the Mixed Plastics Loan Fund.
Environment Minister, Lord Taylor said: “I’m delighted to see this investment in ECO Plastics. It will increase the amount of plastic that gets recycled by 15,000 tonnes, helping to protect the environment and save businesses money by cutting back on their use of raw materials. The recycling industry is growing and we’re working to help companies gain a foothold in this exciting new marketplace which will help us become a zero-waste economy.”
Marcus Gover, Director of the Closed Loop Economy programme at WRAP said: "Recycling is a great British industry and this funding represents a further confidence boost. Getting the right reprocessing infrastructure in place is crucial to turning the developing interest in mixed plastics collections from local authorities into a reality. I’d encourage anyone with an interest in recycling plastic packaging to check the criteria of our Mixed Plastics Loan Fund."
Jonathan Short, Managing Director of ECO Plastics said: "The processing of non-bottle rigid plastics packaging is the next logical step in UK plastics recycling infrastructure. But it is vitally important that we don’t run before we can walk - the processing infrastructure must be in place before we encourage further non-bottle rigid plastics collection across the UK. Even after this investment, current collections far outweigh the available processing capacity, which remains a serious risk to the whole industry.
“We support WRAPs vision to see this growth occur in the medium term, allowing companies like ECO Plastics to develop markets for the non-bottle plastic recyclate. It is an essential ingredient for a successful industry.”
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 - turning 'waste' into resources.
For more information about WRAP's mixed plastics loan fund to support the development of UK based mixed plastics recycling infrastructure, please visit www.wrap.org.uk/mplf
- WRAP’s vision is a world without waste, where resources are used sustainably. It works in partnership to help businesses, individuals and communities improve resource efficiency.
- Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
- More information on all of WRAP's programmes can be found on www.wrap.org.uk
- ECO Plastics secured £650,000 from WRAP’s mixed plastics development loan fund, and £500,000 from WRAP’s accelerating growth fund, aimed at speeding up the growth of viable businesses
- Both loan funds have clear criteria for eligibility which can be found at: www.wrap.org.uk/funding
About ECO Plastics:
ECO Plastics is Europe’s leading ethical plastic bottle recycler. The business began re-processing post consumer plastics in 2006 and has over the past five years invested over £17m to quadruple its processing capacity and triple the factory footprint. During early 2009 it became the first UK company to receive food grade accreditation for its rPET resin.
A further £15m expansion is currently underway to service the business’ ground-breaking joint venture with Coca-Cola Enterprises. This investment will create a facility which is now the largest and most sophisticated in Europe. On completion the extended plant will be able to process 150,000 tonnes of mixed plastic bottles a year, producing 40,000 tonnes of food-grade rPET pellet per annum.
ECO Plastics’ superior cleaning technology allows the company to make the most use of the plastic it sorts, producing 11 different streams of plastic, including food-grade PET. Virtually no waste is left over. Independent research has shown that ECO Plastics’ process is 68% less carbon intensive than using virgin plastics for packaging.