UK’s first sorting and processing facility for mixed plastics opens creating 28 green jobs in Redcar

18th March 2011

Today, Biffa Polymers and WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) can announce the opening of the UK’s first fully integrated sorting and recycling facility for mixed household plastic packaging.

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The facility, originally operated by Greenstar WES, now owned by Biffa Polymers won £1.187 million in funding from WRAP in January 2010, following WRAP research demonstrating the environmental benefits, commercial and technological viability for mixed plastics recycling.

Located in Redcar, Middlesbrough, the facility is the first of its kind enabling mixed plastics to be sorted, washed and processed, signaling the end in sight for frustrated householders up and down the country unsure of whether or not to recycle their yoghurt pots.

The Redcar 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.

Waste and Recycling Minister Lord Henley said: “Biffa’s innovative technology will make life easier for families who’ve puzzled over recycling their yoghurt tubs and food trays.

“Not only will this investment help households and businesses who want to recycle more, but it also gives a welcomed boost to green jobs in the North East. It’s part of green growth - making valuable resources available again to the economy.”

Marcus Gover, Director of Market Development at WRAP said: “WRAP is delighted that the Redcar facility is now open and demonstrating that it is commercially viable to recycle mixed plastics and that there are real end markets for the high value, quality outputs.

“Ensuring a quality service is delivered across the supply chain, from householders to local authorities, MRFs, processors and end users, is essential to achieve the best products, prices and experiences for all involved. Recycling mixed plastics adds value to the UK economy by transforming a waste into a usable, commercial product, retaining the value rather than allowing it to end up in landfill.”

“Householders should check locally or the postcode locator on www.recyclenow.com to see if mixed plastics can be collected by their local authority.”

Martin Marron, Managing Director at Biffa Polymers said: “Following the success of being the first company in the UK to produce food grade recycled HDPE plastic which is used to make new milk bottles, Biffa Polymers is delighted to be once again at the forefront of the recycling industry. We believe in pushing the boundaries to find the best solutions for plastic recycling in the UK.”

  • 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.
  • More information on all of WRAP's programmes can be found on www.wrap.org.uk
  • Interviews are available, please contact Katie Zabel: 07985 994381 / 01295 817872
Contact

Katie Wheater

PR Manager, WRAP
01295 817872