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Horticultural waste recycling system success

A pioneering scheme to recycle horticultural waste - used expanded polystyrene (EPS) - has successfully diverted about 26 tonnes of it from landfill since August.

EPS packaging supplier Styropack UK takes used EPS bedding trays back from the horticultural companies it supplies and compacts them to a quarter of their original size.

Styropack UK logistics manager Andy Wood said: “Finding a recycler that could reprocess the material was not straightforward. There was no-one in the UK who could do it.”

It therefore approached Netherlands-based sister company, Synbra Technology. Synbra Technology recycles EPS packaging in the Netherlands, and therefore already had methods to deal with it.

But the compacted bedding trays collected by Styropack often had compost, and even whole plants left in them, which had to be separated before the EPS could be reprocessed.

Its system now separates and composts the organic material, and produces a clean bead that is supplied as a reprocessed grade. It is coloured black or grey and can be used in the manufacture of items such as picture frames.

Styropack supplies around 500 horticultural customers, including Roundstone Nurseries in Sussex – who supply mainly to B&Q. However the majority of the bedding trays it does supply will slip out of this recycling loop and end up in customer’s homes.

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