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Materials Recycler of the Year (Large): Eco Plastics

Eco Plastics operates the world’s largest and most sophisticated processing plant, capable of sorting 150,000 tonnes of mixed plastics per year, around 50% of the UK total. Located in Lincolnshire, it employs 20 NIR/optical sorters to produce 11 different streams of plastic, including HDPE flake, 80:20 PET flake and Jazz PET Flake. Its principal output is food-grade recycled PET (rPET), which can be used in the creation of new drink bottles.

Following expansion at the plant, it is now capable of producing 40,000 tonnes of rPET a year, around 75% of the entire UK total. Its recycling process is virtually zero waste to landfill, squeezing almost every ounce of value from its feedstock with any residue used to produce energy from waste.

Recognised third-party experts have carried out comprehensive tests on its product, demonstrating  that plastic bottles made from its rPET pellet are 67% less carbon intensive than those made using virgin polymers. In addition a further 85,000 tonnes of material that would otherwise be sent to landfill is recovered through the plant.

In the summer of 2009 its plant suffered the largest fire in Lincolnshire’s history. But since re-opening the facility in November 2010, it has gone from strength to strength. This includes the opening of its Continuum joint venture in 2012.

The judges said: “This stands out for its scale, production of food grade PET, the extensive range of polymers it is sorting and the fact that it got end users to invest in the facility. It is a partnership that really closes the recycling circle.”

Finalists:

  • DS Smith Recycling
  • McGrath Group
  • O’Brien Waste Recycling Solutions
  • South West Highways

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