Plastics Recycling Facility Opens in UK

Plastics Recycling Facility Opens in UK

Continuum Recycling is a joint venture project between ECO Plastics and Coca-Cola Enterprises.

May 11, 2012
Recycling Today Staff

(left to right Peter Gangsted – Chairman, ECO Plastics; Stephen Moorhouse, General Manager and Vice President, Supply Chain Coca-Cola Enterprises; Lord Taylor, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State )Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd (CCE) and ECO Plastics  have jointly announced the official opening of their groundbreaking plastics recycling joint venture, Continuum Recycling, in Hemswell, Lincolnshire, U.K. The facility has been designed to collect and recycle scrap plastic packaging into new bottles. According to ECO Plastics, the facility cost £15 million (US$24.2 million) to build and is located at ECO Plastics’ existing Lincolnshire facility.

The opening of the Continuum Recycling plant is expected to double the amount of bottle-grade recycled PET (rPET) collected in Great Britain, and should help CCE meet its commitment to use 25 percent recycled PET in all of its bottles by the end of 2012. ECO Plastics says that with the new facility the company becomes the largest plastics reprocessing facility in the world.

During remarks during the official opening, Simon Baldry, managing director of CCE, said, “Our investment in Continuum Recycling shows that we are serious about setting the industry standard for sustainable packaging. Today’s opening of this £15m state-of-the-art facility will transform recycling in this country and ensure that we achieve our ambition of incorporating 25 percent recycled PET in our plastic bottles. This is a first for the industry and an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to build a low-carbon, zero waste business here in Great Britain.”

Jonathan Short, managing director of ECO Plastics, noted, “Today is a great day for ECO Plastics and a great day for U.K. recycling generally. It demonstrates the huge potential of working with global leaders like Coca-Cola Enterprises, as well as the strategic value of long-term partnerships. Together they have provided us with confidence to invest in the next-generation technology which will be crucial to our industry’s future development.”

The U.K.’s Environment Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach, who took part in the ceremonial opening, said, “With the opening of this facility, the U.K. is now home to the world’s largest plastics recycling plant, bringing jobs and growth to the rural economy of Lincolnshire. Coca-Cola Enterprises’ and ECO Plastics’ innovation and investment has made this project a reality – exactly what we want to see more of right across the country.

ECO Plastics began reprocessing post consumer plastics in 2006. Over the past five years the company has invested more than £17m to quadruple its processing capacity. During early 2009 it became the first U.K. company to receive food grade accreditation for its rPET resin.

With the new plant, Hemswell is now capable of processing 150,000 metric tons of mixed plastics a year, including 40,000 metric tons of bottle-grade rPET pellet.

In February, 2012, the business received a £1.15 million (US$1.86 million) loan from WRAP’s Mixed Plastics Loan Fund. The funds have allowed ECO Plastics to increase the sorting facility at the plant, enabling it to more efficiently process rigid plastic packaging such as tubs, pots and trays.