Plastics Recycling Business Opportunities Report

29th November 2016

A report identifying business opportunities for developing new plastics recycling capacity in Scotland (based on detailed evidence on plastics arisings and existing capacity) and assessing the viability of each opportunity.

Key points
The Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Plan sets a vision of 70% recycling and a maximum of 5% to landfill by 2025
Additional capacity for recycling of more than 150,000 tonnes per annum of plastics required by 2014
This report estimates recycling capacity of 71,000 tonnes per annum in the short term



This study has identified potentially viable business opportunities to increase recycling capacity in Scotland and thus contribute to this infrastructure gap. It focuses on business opportunities that complement existing activity – essentially opportunities that address current “weaknesses” in the supply chain. These are generally targeting less attractive materials or materials with less well developed supply chains.

The business opportunities that have been identified and analysed are:

  • processing of mixed, contaminated rigid plastic waste
  • processing of mixed contaminated plastic film waste
  • collection and compaction of expanded polystyrene waste
  • processing of waste u-PVC window and door profiles
  • processing of waste plastics from WEEE

The plastics under these categories represent arisings of between 300,000 and 400,000 tonne per annum in Scotland.

Analysis of the business models and financial viability for these opportunities indicate that four of them do offer the potential of viable business opportunities but that the collection and compaction of expanded polystyrene waste currently does not. This is due to the costs of collection and processing due to the low density of the material.

To find out more about these business opportunities, please use the links below to download the full report:

Download the full report >>

Developing the Evidence Base for Plastic Recycling in Scotland

This report describes the results of work to develop a robust evidence base of plastics arisings in Scotland and how these are managed. It quantifies plastic waste arisings in each of the 32 Scottish Local Authority areas and aggregates them to a Scottish level. It also details waste plastics processing capacity in Scotland and maps how waste plastic arisings are managed and recycled.

To find out more, please links to the report below:

1.0 Introduction >>
2.0 Analysis of Plastic Waste Arisings for Each Local Authority Area and for Scotland >>
3.0 Characterisation of the Plastics Waste Management and Reprocessing Capacity in Scotland >>
4.0 Mapping of the Destinations of Waste Plastic Arisings >>
5.0 Conclusions >>

Download the full report >>
Download the appendicies >>

Where next?

Want to know more about plastics in Dry Materials? Take a look at our reports, guides, tools and case studies for further information:

Reports >>
Guides >>
Tools >>
Case studies >>