Swindon-based firm, Recycling Technologies Ltd, has announced that it has raised £5 million in funding and is now looking for further sites for its ‘breakthrough’ chemical recycling machine.
Swindon borough council has put its support behind the conversion process, while one of the machines is being installed at waste and recycling firm Binn Group in Perthshire.
Bernie Brannan, corporate director at Swindon borough council, said: “It is evident that this technology should have financial, environmental and economic benefits, not only for Swindon but further afield as well.”
And, Recycling Technologies said that its machine, known as the “RT7000 will be located in Binn Farm, Perthshire, run by an independent recycling and waste services company Binn Group”.
According to Recycling Technologies of Hill Barn, Purton, the machine using advanced thermal cracking technology, turns “residual plastic waste back into the oil it originally came from”.
The firm, which operates its trial plant alongside the Swindon Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) based in Cheney Manor, uses its chemical technology “to recycle residual plastic waste back into a valuable low sulphur hydrocarbon product called Plaxx.”
Plaxx can be used as “a feedstock for new polymer and wax manufacturing, replacing fossil-fuel derived raw materials”. The company claims it is now preparing for further trials at the end of the year in an effort to move to continuous 24/7 operations.
To date there has been little progress within the UK in terms of turning plastics wastes back into oil, largely because of the costs of the process and the low value of oil. Discussions took place in the past in Scotland and more recently in the west of England about potential plants.
However, Recycling Technologies is positive about the idea. Its chief executive is Adrian Griffiths, who is also managing director of consultancy business AEG (UK) based at the same premises as Recycling Technologies. Mr Griffiths also has experience of innovative products in other sectors with another company of which he was a director, the former business Pure Global Ltd which was involved with wheelchair technology and was also based at Purton.
Mr Griffiths said: “2017 has been a fantastic year for Recycling Technologies. We have a viable solution to make the circular economy a reality and taking End-of-Life Plastic and turning it into more plastic is a great way to do this.
“As a team, we’ve come a long way in a short period of time and I am very excited for what the future holds in Swindon, Scotland and as we expand in the UK and internationally. The investment we are getting shows that there is a lot of support and belief in what we are achieving.”
In a statement, Recycling Technologies said: “This new chemical recycling technology offers an alternative to landfill and energy from waste (EfW) incineration for residual plastic waste and boosts the recycling rate for mixed plastics from 30% achieved with existing mechanical treatment, to 90% with these technologies combined.”
The technology is housed in a chemical recycling unit called the RT7000, which, said the company, is capable of treating 7,000 tonnes of mixed plastics per annum from household and C&I streams. The company says findings from a recent Ricardo AEA life cycle assessment, indicate that by diverting the plastic waste from EfW, 2.2tonnes of CO2e can be saved for every tonne of plastic waste processed into Plaxx.
Recycling Technologies continued: “Not only is the RT7000 an environmentally preferred option, it is cost effective for sites due to lower gate fees and the ‘build own and operate’ business model of Recycling Technologies that retains responsibility for the unit’s installation, maintenance and operation, removing this burden from the site owner.”
“The unit will be manufactured off-site and is easily scalable and transportable thanks to the RT7000’s modular design which sits within standard 20ft ISO shipping frames.”
By combining mechanical and chemical recycling, the firm claims even materials that previously have been regarded as unrecyclable including black trays, laminated food pouches, films and contaminated food packaging can be processed.
Recycling Technologies says it now has a growing need to hire new recruits from the waste industry to operate future plants. In particular it has already extended and is actively seeking to further strengthen the team in operations, manufacturing and engineering. Appointments this year have also included a new chairman, Howard Lack, and a new investor director, Geoffrey Phillips.
Binn Group, has this week reported £3 million of investment in what it says is the development and commissioning of Scotland’s first solid recovered fuel (SRF) facility. The company is now investing around £2 million to upgrade and expand its fleet of collection vehicles.
This investment sees Binn Group operate a fleet of over 50 collection vehicles throughout Perthshire, Fife, Dundee, Angus and Stirlingshire.
The SRF plant now produces, said the company, around 5,000 tonnes of separated, dehydrated, shredded and baled waste each month.