Coca‑Cola Enterprises, the UK’s largest soft drinks producer, and ECO Plastics have officially opened their groundbreaking joint venture, Continuum Recycling, which is the world’s largest plastics processing facility. Completed on time and on budget, the £15 million facility is a first for Great Britain, and brings the recycling process full‑circle, with used plastic packaging sorted and reprocessed domestically, before returning to store shelves as part of another bottle.
Opened by UK Environment Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach, the Continuum Recycling plant will more than double the amount of bottle‑grade recycled plastic (rPET) previously created in Britain, and will allow CCE to meet its commitment to use 25% rPET in all its bottles by the end of 2012. The factory is located at ECO Plastics’ existing site in Lincolnshire, which, with the additional capacity, becomes the world’s largest and most sophisticated plastics recycling facility, capable of processing 150,000 tonnes of mixed plastics a year, including 40,000 tonnes of bottle‑grade rPET pellet.
Continuum Recycling will be used this summer by Coca‑Cola as part of an initiative to collect Coke and additional PET soft drinks bottles and turn them back into new bottles on the shelves within six weeks.
Continuum Recycling is the first time that the UK beverage and recycling industries have formed a long‑term strategic partnership and will provide CCE with high‑quality rPET for a minimum of ten years. It will save around 33,500 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking over 15,715 cars off the road. 30 new skilled jobs have been created for the local area as a result of the partnership.
“Our investment in Continuum Recycling shows that we are serious about setting the industry standard for sustainable packaging,” comments Simon Baldry, managing director of Coca‑Cola Enterprises. “This is a first for the industry and an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to build a low-carbon, zero waste business here in Great Britain.”
ECO Plastics is Europe’s leading ethical plastic bottle recycler. The business began re‑processing post consumer plastics in 2006 and has over the past five years invested over £17 million to quadruple its processing capacity and triple the factory footprint. During early 2009 it became the first UK company to receive food grade accreditation for its rPET resin.