Continuum Recycling, the joint-venture between CCE and recycling firm, ECO Plastics will enable ECO Plastics to process 40,000t of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) bottle-grade plastic per year. This will enable CCE to meet its target of making all plastic bottles with 25% rPET by the end of the year, said Simon Baldry, CCE md.
CCE had previously criticised the poor rate of plastic recycling in the UK but the new facility will more than double the amount of bottle-grade rPET created in the UK, he added.
“Our investment in Continuum Recycling shows that we are serious about setting the industry standard for sustainable packaging,” said Baldry.
“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.”
The facility – completed on-time and on-budget – will create 30 jobs at ECO plastic’s existing site in Hemswell, Lincolnshire.
The partners claim that the addition of Continuum Recycling to the Hemswell site makes it the largest plastics reprocessing facility in the world.
Jonathan Short, md of ECO Plastics, said the partnership will guarantee a supply of recycled plastic to CCE for a minimum of 10 years.
The Hemswell mixed plastics facility is capable of sorting a total of 150,000t of plastics – including the 40,000t of rPET – into 11 different streams with virtually no leftover waste.
It will save around 33,500t of carbon dioxide per year, said Short.
Opening the site yesterday (May 10), environment minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach said: “With the opening of this facility, the UK is now home to the world’s largest plastics recycling plant, bringing jobs and growth to the rural economy of Lincolnshire.
“Recycling is a growing industry, and investment in these types of projects not only makes good business sense – it will help us achieve our ultimate aim of a zero-waste green economy.”
CCE will also use the site’s processing capabilities to recycle soft drinks bottles collected from Olympic venues. This will provide a valuable source of material for the plant and help the London Olympics achieve its aim of being a zero-waste event, said Jon Woods, general manager of Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland.
“The eyes of billions around the world will be on the UK throughout London 2012, and this presents a unique chance to trigger shifts in sustainable behaviour,” said Woods.