By Will Date
Plastics scrap trading firm GFSL Ltd is to open a rigid plastic waste recycling plant at the Wilton International estate in Redcar, Teesside.
The plant is set up to process around 20,000 tonnes of rigid plastic PP, PE and PVC waste per year material which includes plastic garden furniture and toys sourced primarily from household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) at locations across the UK.
GFSL will produce two grades of recycled plastic regrind, which it will sell to manufacturers for use in new products, including new plastic furniture. The company has said it has yet to secure any off-take contracts, but it has had strong interest from manufacturers.
The firm has invested more than 2.2 million to develop the facility, with the aid of North East Regional Growth funding. Commissioning of the plant is at an advanced stage, and the firm expects to have the facility fully operational by next week.
Speaking to letsrecycle.com GFSL director and former purchasing manager at bottle recycling firm ECO Plastics, Martin Robb, said that he was confident that the company could secure material of the required quality to ensure that the operation is viable.
He said: The quality is out there, we have tested material and it is achievable. We will be accepting PVC, HDPE and PP as a mixed grade. There will be contamination by the very nature of this material, but because of the volume that is available we will be able to pick and choose what we are bringing in.
The technology we are using is used in other facilities, but not for this material. We have also configured it differently to suit the feedstock. It is fully automated so there is no manual picking. Basically, the material is reduced in size and sorted, and we will be producing a regrind at the end.
Initially it will be two streams, a polyolefin PP and PE mix, but we are working with a manufacturer to design a machine which will sort the regrind and that is maybe about six months away. The other product is a PVC regrind.
The company could not reveal the value that material delivered to the plant would fetch, but said that prices would be determined by quality and that it would primarily be seeking baled material.
Mr Robb added that demand for end products would be created once the plant was fully operational.
He said: There has been a good interest from manufacturers of plastic furniture, pipe and pallet manufacturers from the UK, Europe and further afield. They are waiting for the finished material so they can run tests on it but we are confident there will be demand. We dont yet have any supply contracts in place, but we have had letters of interest from manufacturers.
We are talking to a lot of councils the length and breadth of the UK as well as waste management and skip companies. The majority of this material still goes to landfill although there are some companies doing a rough hand sort of the material but they have a limited capacity and contamination tolerance. It is also very time consuming to sort this way.
The facility will be located close to Biffas Redcar mixed plastics plant, although the two facilities will not be vying for feedstock, as the Biffa facility processes mostly PP-rich plastic packaging waste.