Veolia UK, a subsidiary of France-based Veolia, has acquired a plastics reprocessing plant near London that it says “will unlock the complete supply chain for manufacturing plastic bottles from recycled material.”
According to a news item from Packaging News, www.packagingnews.co.uk, the plant in question is the former Euro Closed Loop Recycling facility, which was designed to recycle some 35,000 tonnes of PET (polyethylene terepthalate) and HDPE (high-denstiy polyethylene) plastic bottles and jugs each year.
Initially, Veolia will operate the facility at about one-third of its capacity. During the initial stage, the plant will accept high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles exclusively at the rate of 15,000 tonnes processed on input. This is roughly two-thirds of its HDPE capacity. On output, the facility will produce the equivalent of 10,000 tonnes of clear HDPE and 5,000 tonnes of coloured HDPE and polypropylene (PP).
In a news release announcing the purchase, Veolia says it “will now be able to offer the complete range of services from collection of raw feedstock (waste plastic bottles) direct from people’s homes or businesses, through all the recycling steps and back to food grade pellets ready to be blown into new plastic milk bottles.”
Veolia says it will be able to make and sell a high-value product from the 200 million plastic milk bottles it collects annually.
“We are very interested to collaborate in this space, since cooperation with the manufacturing sector, the people actually making things from recovered materials, is essential in order to be successful for the long term,” says Estelle Brachlianoff, senior executive vice president for Veolia UK and Ireland.
“This is a great opportunity to work in tandem with our Rainham plastic recycling facility to turn the high density polyethylene milk bottles back into bottles and we are excited at mastering the full supply chain by moving into this type of manufacturing,” she adds. “This shows once again Veolia’s commitment to investment in the U.K.”
A spokeswoman for Veolia says the company is in a unique position as its Rainham plastics recycling facility is “on the doorstep of this new plant and will be able to supply 15,000 tonnes of feedstock to create new bottles.”
She adds that Veolia also has a tremendous amount of experience in the area and already manages four plants of this type in Europe.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, adds, “I am determined to redouble efforts to increase the amount London recycles, so I am delighted that Veolia has purchased this important facility. This plant will be able to recycle all of the capital’s empty milk bottles – a mountain of waste that would otherwise have been sent to landfill. This is good news for London and good news for the environment.”
The new business will produce 10,000 tonnes of what Veolia calls high-quality food-grade HDPE pellets annually. Recycling this material requires 75% less energy to make a plastic bottle than using virgin materials, and this equates to conserving enough energy to power around 20,000 homes and saving 10,000 short tons per year of carbon emissions. Veolia also says the move complements its recent commitment as a Core Partner to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s campaign to support the Plastics Economy.