• The UK’s First Recycling Facility for Shopping Bags and Plastic Films

Waste Management

The UK’s First Recycling Facility for Shopping Bags and Plastic Films

Sep 26 2013

PlasRecycle (UK) is delighted to announce that it has built the UK’s first facility for reprocessing post-consumer polythene bags and packaging films, to produce a plastic granulate that can be used for making new bags, replacing virgin materials. Recycling 1 tonne of plastic packaging saves around 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

PlasRecycle’s new high tech plant will also create 32 jobs, a useful boost to the local economy in Woolwich, South East London. The plant should be fully operational in 4th quarter 2013 and is sourcing feedstock from waste companies and retailers. The plant can process 20,000 tonnes per year of used plastic films, to produce a clean plastic granulate with multiple uses including in the manufacture of new black sacks and carrier bags.

PlasRecycle has spent the last three years developing a high tech proprietary process which is environmentally friendly and converts what has historically been regarded as a waste material into a useful product.

The company has raised £10.7 million in finance from investors including Foresight Environmental Fund, the London Waste & Recycling Board, WRAP and private investors.

Duncan Grierson, PlasRecycle’s Founder and Chief Executive, said: “This pioneering project is a UK first and as well as recycling bags back into a high quality plastic pellet for reuse, we are creating over 30 new “green” jobs. Scientific research by the Environment Agency confirms that polythene carrier bags have a much better carbon footprint than alternatives such as paper bags. We are pleased to be making a contribution to the UK meeting the environmental targets set by the EU’s Waste Framework Directive and the Climate Change Bill”.

Paul Levett, Chairman of PlasRecycle said: "PlasRecycle brings a green option to local authorities and businesses who have previously had little choice but to export, landfill or incinerate their waste plastic bags and packaging film. This initiative will create green jobs in UK and can be a key part of producer responsibility programmes for the packaging and retail industries."  

Richard Tracey, Chairman of the London Waste and Recycling Board said: “The PlasRecycle project, which will be the first of its kind in the UK, is an exciting addition to London’s waste infrastructure. The technology is innovative and will help to drive plastic film away from landfill and incineration and back into the supply chain. LWARB is pleased to be one of the key investors in a project that will be environmentally beneficial and drive green jobs and investment into the capital.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “It is fantastic to see more of this kind of recycling here in London, in this case turning plastic film back into useable plastic – a UK first. This burgeoning new sector, supported through the London Waste and Recycling Board and the Foresight Environmental fund is helping to save huge sums of money while supporting new jobs and growth, and reducing carbon emissions in the capital”.

Resources Management Minister, Lord de Mauley said: “This new recycling plant shows that dealing with waste and recycling properly is not only good for the environment but can boost economic growth and create jobs. I’m delighted to see this sector growing and improving our ability to recycle more here in the UK. There is a huge global market for waste and recycling and I want to see UK businesses leading the way on this and helping us compete in the global race.”

Barry Turner, Chief Executive of the Packaging and Films Association (PAFA) said: “'I am delighted to see PlasRecycle’s investment in the UK. This will help to divert plastic material from landfill and provide recyclate from a UK source which will mean carbon savings. Plastic packaging keeps goods fresh for much longer and helps saves valuable resources.”

Nigel Aitchison, Partner at Foresight Group commented: “There is an exciting market opportunity for PlasRecycle’s pioneering technology. This is a significant investment for Foresight Environmental Fund and we are looking forward to making further investments and to driving growth and job creation in Greater London.”


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