The UKs first food grade plastics recycling facility has been opened in Dagenham, London, by Closed Loop Recycling (CLR).
At the plant, 35,000 tonnes of PET and HDPE plastic bottles will be recycled back into raw food grade material ready to use in new food and drinks packaging. Companies already signed up to use it include Coca-Cola Enterprises, Marks & Spencer, Nampak Plastics Europe and Solo cup.
CLR managing director Chris Dow said that the plant was evidence that the UK is going through a recycling revolution because until now there has been no facility to recycle bottles back into plastic food packaging.
Dow said: The industry and consumer are now viewing recycled plastic in a completely new light. It is no longer waste, it is a valuable resource.
Waste bottle feedstock will be supplied to the plant by Veolia Environmental Services from its materials recycling facilities in Greenwich, London.
The plant is still undergoing operational testing but non food grade plastic will be produced by the end of July and food grade material is expected in the autumn.
Closed Loop Recycling is also considering three sites for new facilities and said it would announce more in the next month.
Funding for the facility came from the Foresight Group, Closed Loop Environmental Solutions in Australia and grants from the Waste & Resources Action Programme and the London Development Agency.
Image: Chris Dow inside a sorting trommel at the plant