22 May 2020 by James Langley

News in brief (22/05/20)

With news on: Pandemic sees sales of single-use plastics soar; Envar to provide dedicated compostable packaging service; Cromwell Polythene donates film for PPE; Geminor begins supplying LDPE to Denmark.


Pandemic sees sales of single-use plastics ‘soar’

The coronavirus pandemic has seen sales of throwaway bottled water, bags, masks, gloves and antiseptic wipes soar, according to environmental organisation and reusable bottle company RAW Bottles.

The organisation says reusable cups, bottles and bags have been shunned, with people mistakenly believing them to be unsafe.

A reusable RAW Bottle surrounded by plastic waste

Plastics campaigner and RAW founder Melinda Watson said: “Our global approach to addressing the catastrophic plastics crisis will continue to contribute to climate change, threaten all life, contaminate precious water systems, pass up the food chain, affect human health, infiltrate other cultures and encourage a throwaway consumer culture at an unprecedented rate.

“What the coronavirus crisis is showing us is that the separation of health and environmental policy is a dangerous delusion.

“Nature is sending us a message and this time we cannot afford to go back to business as usual.”

RAW also criticised the waiving of the plastic bag charge, the continued suspension of some recycling programmes and the putting on hold of government plans to reduce single-use plastic.


Envar to provide compostable packaging service

Envar is to provide a dedicated compostable packaging service in partnership with waste management company Paper Round and compostable packaging company Vegware in Brighton and London.

The organic waste management company says the service will see Vegware’s compostable packaging collected as a separate waste stream and quality checked by Paper Round.

One of the trucks used by Paper Round to collect the packaging

It will then be sent to Envar’s Cambridgeshire in-vessel composting facility to be made into compost.

Andy Sibley, Envar’s managing director, said: “Working together with these key partners and their customers, we can continue to reduce contamination through this exciting new waste stream.

“Compostable food packaging is another way we can reduce the use of single use plastics and help to improve the health of our planet.”

Envar says the launch of the service follows a successful trial scheme conducted during the past year in London. The scheme involved food waste from corporate and government offices including Bartlett Mitchell and the Foreign Commonwealth Office, the company says.


Cromwell Polythene donates film for PPE

Cromwell Plastics Recycling has donated 500 kilograms of blue polythene film to a fundraising partnership of volunteers and marine businesses making personal protective equipment (PPE) for the NHS.

The manufacturing and recycling division of Alfreton-based Cromwell Polythene says the film will be made into approximately 5,000 disposable plastic gowns for Southampton General Hospital.

Cromwell Polythene has donated 500kg of plastic film for the making of PPE

James Lee, managing director of Cromwell Polythene, said: “We are proud to support this worthy cause. These businesses and individuals have volunteered their time and support to supply some of the heroes on the frontline, including hospitals and care homes with vital PPE equipment.

“We’d like to thank our team at Cromwell Plastics Recycling who have helped give this wonderful, partnership project further momentum.”

Cromwell Polythene says has modified three extrusion lines at its manufacturing and recycling plant to make film for standard, clear aprons in addition to its existing PPE range.

A network of businesses and individuals known as The Press Gang and several marine-based companies known collectively as The Cutting Crew have coordinated the scheme in Lymington, Hampshire.

The partnership has so far supplied Southampton General Hospital with 8,000 protective gowns, with more than 25,000 more in the pipeline, Cromwell Polythene says.


Geminor begins supplying LDPE to Denmark

Geminor is to begin supplying low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic to Quantafuel’s newly opened factory in Skive, Denmark, for chemical recycling.

Norwegian waste fuel specialist Geminor says it is soon to deliver the first 500 tonnes to the production plant as part of a 20,000 tonnes per year deal agreed with energy company Quantafuel in December 2019.

The Quantafuel plant in Skive in Denmark

The load, Geminor says, represents the start of chemical recycling in Europe.

Kasper Thomsen, country manager of Geminor DK, said: “The growing interest in chemical recycling of waste plastic is probably linked to stricter regulations for material recycling, but also due to the growing focus on circular economies.

“Chemical recycling is in a very exciting phase, and we believe that this process can be important in order to reach the EU’s Green Deal ambitions in the coming decade.”

The chemical recycling process sees unrecyclable plastics turned into an oil which can either be used to re-create new virgin material or used as a cleaner fuel.

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