WINNER: Plastipak/Clean Tech
Clean Tech is the UK’s largest PET reprocessor. It was acquired from administration by Plastipak in 2016, for which it supplies food-grade recycled PET for inclusion in new PET preforms/bottles.
The plant in Hemswell, Lincs, has enabled significant adoption of recycled content by companies such as Coca-Cola, Princes, Harrogate Water, Highland Spring, Montgomery Water, Co-op, Radnor Hills, Belu and others. It is a significant example of a closed-loop circular economy.
JUDGES’ COMMENT: “They have shown resilience and commitment and, as their customer feedback demonstrates, without them some big names would not be increasing their recycled content.”
In 2018, investment of more than £8m focused on improvement of the recycled polymer and driving operational efficiencies. An extrusion line previously unable to produce bottle-grade recycled polymer was converted so it achieves a quality suitable for bottle applications.
Combined with significant process and reliability improvements, the plant’s food-grade pellet output increased by 50% to 30,000 tonnes a year. It also allowed Plastipak to go from 8.5% rPET as proportion of overall resin usage in 2017 to 14.8% in 2018 and 29.8% in 2019.
The business has undergone a major cultural change in health and safety, environmental improvement and quality systems. Measures taken included: the transfer of best practice from Plastipak’s three other PET recycling plants; the establishment of standard operating procedures and key process improvements; significant recruitment and investment in training; and major process re-engineering from dry to wet granulation with a centrifugal wash system.
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The business has plans for further expansion and development to start in 2020, and feedback from major brands shows the facility is integral to their recycled content commitments.
- Keltbray Environmental
- Parry & Evans
- R Collard
- Suez Recycling & Recovery UK
- Westminster Waste