New plastics facility will double recycling

New plastics facility will double recycling
Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd announces a joint venture with ECO Plastics to develop a new purpose-built recycling facility in Lincolnshire.

The deal marks a step change in the GB plastic reprocessing industry. Around 35,000 tonnes of PET bottles were reprocessed in GB last year. The new facility will increase this total to more than 75,000 tonnes when it is fully operational - more than doubling the amount of high-quality rPET (PET that is recycled to make food-grade, sustainable packaging) currently produced in Britain.

The state-of-the-art plastics reprocessing plant will also supply CCE with enough GB-sourced, high-quality rPET to achieve CCE’s target of including 25% rPET in all its plastic packaging in GB by 2012. This represents an important milestone in CCE’s ongoing work to develop the most sustainable packaging possible.

CCE GB Managing Director, Simon Baldry said: “CCE is committed to transforming recycling in Great Britain. Our investment in this project with ECO Plastics will start to address the recycling challenges in this country. British PET bottles will be recycled for re-use in packaging that will be sold from the shelves of British retailers. CCE has signed a ten-year joint venture deal with ECO Plastics that guarantees an annual supply of rPET to CCE. CCE is making a £5 million equity investment to support construction of the new facility, with ECO Plastics raising an additional £10 million to complete funding for the project.

The deal is a first for the British drinks manufacturing industry. It will bring recycling in GB full circle, as used British packaging will be recycled in Lincolnshire for re-use in packaging that will then be sold in Britain. Currently, CCE sources food-grade rPET from continental Europe, while around two-thirds of used GB plastics packaging is exported for reprocessing.

The new recycling facility will be built on ECO Plastics’ current site in Lincolnshire, and will be operational next year. The joint venture will create 15 jobs during the construction phase and up to 30 new jobs once the site is operational. ECO Plastics’ existing facility is already the largest in Europe, capable of processing more than 100,000 tonnes of waste plastic or 2 billion bottles a year. Independent research has shown that products made with recycled plastic from the ECO Plastics site are 68% less carbon-intensive than packaging made with virgin materials.

Jonathan Short, Managing Director, ECO Plastics, said: “ECO Plastics has made huge strides in developing our business in recent years, to become the UK’s leading plastic recycler. We are delighted to be partnering with a company of the calibre of Coca-Cola Enterprises and view this pioneering agreement as the next important step for our own business and the industry as a whole.

“Demand for sustainable packaging in the UK has gathered pace in recent years, whilst the UK supply of recycled plastics has grown significantly. Coca-Cola Enterprises has recognised these trends and has taken positive action that will help accelerate UK plastics recycling. This is the 'low carbon economy' in practice. “Having recently re-opened Europe's largest and most technically advanced plastics recycling facility and chosen a new name for a new chapter in our growth, we are thrilled to further expand operations through this joint venture.”

Commenting on the Joint Venture between CCE and Eco Plastics, DEFRA Waste Minister, Lord Henley said: “This investment builds on the public’s enthusiasm for recycling and will make it easier for them to buy recycled plastic products such as the famous Coca-Cola bottle. It more than doubles the UK’s ability to turn used drinks bottles into new ones, which reduces the carbon footprint of every bottle made, compared with using virgin material. “Coca-Cola and ECO Plastics’ efforts are an innovative blueprint for the future, and show how producers can take responsibility to step up to this challenge.”