The joint venture between Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) and Eco Plastics has recycled more than half a billion bottles since it opened a year ago.
When the £15m recycled PET plant opened in May 2012 in Hemswell, Linconshire, it doubled the capacity to recycle plastic in Britain, and now processes 50% of the UK’s bottle grade rPET.
Resource minister Lord de Mauley visited the facility – the world’s largest for plastics reprocessing - to mark the anniversary.
De Mauley said: “Continuum has shown the real benefits of recycling. It has helped to cut down on waste and brought millions of plastic bottles back into use which would have otherwise been sent to landfill.
“The plant has further helped Lincolnshire’s rural economy to thrive by creating more jobs - this is exactly what we want to see.”
The plant has created more than 30 new jobs since opening.
Jonathan Short, managing director of ECO Plastics, described hitting the 500 million-mark within a year of opening as “a real achievement”.
“We hope that Continuum will prove to be a gateway project, demonstrating the value of long-term partnership and providing a template that others can follow,” he said.
The model is being followed by CCE in other partnerships in Greece and Belgium.
Continuum has also helped CCE to meet its commitment to use 25% rPET in all its bottles by the end of 2012.
During the Olympics and Paralympics, 15 million Coca-Cola bottles were collected and returned to shelves, some within six weeks. CCE and ECO Plastics estimate that the plant will save around 33,500 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Nick Brown, associate director for recycling at CCE, said: “Continuum was fundamental in helping the Coca-Cola system to deliver on its Olympics legacy pledge and its materials are now used across our full range of plastic packaging.”
- CCE have also announced its ‘Happiness Recycled’ campaign to encourage recycling at two Scottish festivals this summer: RockNess and the Royal Highland Show. The initiative includes interactive bins, for example festival go-ers will be able to throw rubbish into bins masquerading as a basketball net. There will also be flash mob style performers to encourage recycling.