UK’s first integrated processing & recycling plant for mixed plastics

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

UK’s first integrated processing & recycling plant for mixed plastics

Related tags: Recycling

The UK’s first integrated sorting, processing and recycling facility for mixed household plastics has opened in Redcar, Middlesbrough in the north of England.

Operated by Biffa Polymers, the plant was established with £1.187m funding from the UK government’s Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Marcus Gover, WRAP’s director of market development told “WRAP is delighted that Biffa’s Redcar mixed plastics facility is now open. This is a significant development for the UK’s green economy – creating jobs and developing a new manufacturing stream from this newly recyclable material. This marks another major milestone in the history of recycling​.”


Said to be the first of its kind in the UK, the plant will enable mixed plastics to be sorted, washed and processed into a reusable high-grade industrial commodity.

From next month, the plant will begin processing 15,000t per year of mixed household plastics including yoghurt pots, meat trays, fruit trays and margarine tubs, into industrial grade recycled plastics. The facility will process plastics from Biffa’s material recycling facilities (MRFs) as well as local authorities and commercial Biffa customers from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

To be sorted by polymer type and colour, the plastics will be suitable for a wide range of end uses, according to a statement from WRAP. “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​.”

Full capacity of 20,000t per year will be reached by April 2012.

Lord Henley, UK government waste and recycling minister said: “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

“Biffa’s innovative technology will make life easier for families who’ve puzzled over recycling their yoghurt tubs and food trays​.”

Food grade

Martin Marron, Biffa’s managing director 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 awarded the funding after research demonstrating the environmental benefits, commercial and technological viability for mixed plastics recycling.

The new facility has created 28 new local jobs and boosted the green economy of the North East of England.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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