2 April 2019 by Joshua Doherty

Tesco begins ‘plastics-to-oil’ pilot

Retailer Tesco is working with the Swindon-based company Recycling Technologies to carry out a pilot scheme in ten of its stores to collect difficult to recycle plastic and convert it into an oil product.  

As part of the pilot, collection points will be set up at Tesco stores in Bristol and Swindon for customers to return items such as flexible pet food pouches and crisp packets – for which there are no household recycling services at present – as well as shopping bags.

Crisp packets will be among the packaging items sought for processing through the trial

The material will then be treated in Recycling Technologies’ RT7000 machine, which the developer claims can turn waste plastics back into a type of oil which can be used to either make new plastic or for use as a fuel.

The RT7000 produces ‘Plaxx’ through a process of thermal cracking and distillation. The resulting product can be sold as recycled feedstock for production of plastics and as a wax.

Packaging

Tesco said in a statement that the scheme comes as part of its efforts to make more of its packaging recyclable and preventing packaging from going to waste. The trial will be rolled out more widely if it is successful.

The Recycling Technologies system involves shredding material, which is injected into a fluidised bed where polymers are broken down by pyrolysis [high temperature decomposition] to form a gas

Commenting on the partnership, Sarah Bradbury, Tesco’s director of quality, said: “Reducing and recycling plastics is such an important issue for us, for customers and for the future of our planet. That’s why we are working hard to reduce the amount of packaging in our stores and have committed that all remaining packaging will be recyclable by 2025.”

Ms Bradbury, added: “Our trial with Recycling Technologies will make even more of our packaging recyclable and help us reach our target. This technology could be the final piece of the jigsaw for the UK plastic recycling industry.”

Recycling Technologies’ chief executive, Adrian Griffiths, added: “Using our specialist feedstock recycling process we keep more plastic waste in the economy and out of landfill and our oceans This initiative with Tesco is designed to show there are solutions to recover this important material. Our goal is to double the UK’s capacity to recycle plastic waste by 2027.”

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