Jo welcomes revolutionary plastic bottle recycling plant

Closed Loop Recycling is the first plant in the UK to provide high quality recycled plastic for food packaging

The world’s first food grade PET/HDPE plastic bottle recycling plant, Closed Loop Recycling, London, today hosted a visit by Jo Swinson MP, who recognised the impact the plant will have on the UK plastic food packaging and recycling industries.

Jo, a member of the Environmental Audit Select Committee, has been campaigning on issues surrounding excess packaging for the past two years. Her campaign has included a Private Members Bill which proposed tighter regulations on packaging and binding targets for packaging reduction, details of which were recently discussed with DEFRA minister Joan Ruddock.

Commenting after the visit, Jo said: “The opening of Closed Loop Recycling is a welcome step forward for recycling in the UK. In addition to reducing excess packaging outright, increasing the amount of recycled material replacing virgin material in the production process is an important part of the battle to tackle excess packaging. Until now, the UK has lacked the means to supply food producers with the required quality of recycled plastic for packaging.”

In its first year, Closed Loop Recycling will take 35,000 tonnes of recovered plastic bottles, including milk and soft drink bottles and turn them back into recycled raw material for new food and drink packaging. The plant will divert a significant amount of waste from landfill and export. The first customers to purchase the recycled food grade plastic from the plant include Coca-Cola Enterprises, Marks & Spencer, Nampak Plastics Europe and Solo Cup (Europe).

“We are delighted that Jo Swinson came to see the plant for herself and we took the opportunity to highlight the need for a national recycling collection strategy as well as reinforcing a clear and concise message for consumers who are recycling more of their household waste each year,” explains Chris Dow, Managing Director, Closed Loop Recycling.

“Until now there has been no facility to recycle bottles back into plastic food packaging – this plant represents the evidence that the UK is undergoing a recycling revolution. The packaging industry and consumer are now viewing recycled plastic in a completely new light, it is no longer waste, it is a valuable resource.

“In addition, in carbon footprint terms, our closed loop recycling process is the equivalent to taking 13,800 vehicles off the road.”

The plant has been funded by private equity, with Foresight Group providing the majority of financing alongside seed funding from Closed Loop Environmental Solutions in Australia and grants from WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), the Government-backed waste minimisation and recycling body, and the London Development Agency. The company has secured banking facilities from Allied Irish Bank.

Using leading edge technologies, Closed Loop Recycling will turn what may have been previously exported to developing countries at low value or discarded into landfill into new material suitable for food and drink packaging. This creates a circle of constantly recycled plastic and the “Closed Loop” philosophy. Closed Loop Recycling has already announced its expansion within the UK demonstrating its position as a leader in high grade plastics recycling.

There are two main types of plastic bottles that are easily recycled: PET (used for soft drinks and water bottles) and HDPE (milk bottles). Closed Loop Recycling will receive 35,000 tonnes of these types of plastic each year – enough to go around the coastline of the British Isles twice or fill Wembley Stadium one and half times.

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