UK’s First Sorting and Processing Facility For Mixed Plastics

The UK’s first fully integrated sorting and recycling facility for mixed household plastic packaging has been opened at Redcar in the North East of England. The facility, owned by Biffa Polymers, won £1.2 million in funding from WRAP in January 2010, following WRAP research demonstrating the environmental benefits, commercial and technological viability for mixed plastics recycling.

WRAP works with businesses and individuals to help them reap the benefits of reducing waste, develop sustainable products and use resources in an efficient way. Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Redcar facility is the first of its kind in the UK enabling mixed plastics to be sorted, washed and processed. The new facility will begin processing 15,000 tonnes per year from April 2011, building up to a full capacity of 20,000 tonnes per year by April 2012. It will process plastics from Biffa MRFs, as well as local authorities and commercial Biffa customers from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The new facility has also created 28 new local jobs, further stimulating the green economy in the North East.

Once sorted and processed, the high quality outputs, sorted by polymer type and colour are suitable for a wide range of end uses where the environmental benefits are unlocked through replacing the use of virgin plastic. Examples of new products include paint trays, plant pots, storage boxes, pallets, car parts and office furniture. In addition some of the output will be processed through Biffa’s food grade HDPE recycling facility at the same site and go back into the manufacture of new milk bottles.

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