Veolia has invested over £1 million in its Dagenham plastic milk bottle recycling facility, as it seeks to increase production of food-grade rHDPE at the plant.
The investment, which includes installation of a new granulator, new processing kit and an upgraded washing process, will increase the total food-grade rHDPE production capacity of the facility by 20% to 12,000 tonnes per year. Food-grade rHDPE can be used in the production of new milk bottles.
Veolia says that the investment comes as a result of increased demand for recycled polymers, which it attributes to the UK’s voluntary Plastics Pact.
The Pact has been set up with the support of a number retailers and food brands, as well as companies in the recycling sector, and aims to reduce single use plastic packaging and increase recycling. Signatories to the pact have a goal to increase recycled content in plastic packaging to at least 30% by 2025 (see letsrecycle.com story).
Richard Kirkman, chief technology & innovation officer said “The UK Plastics Pact has given a boost to the industry that was needed to make plastic recycling a reality. Since the launch we have seen demand increase and so we had to ensure our site was working efficiently to meet demand.
“This is an opportunity for an industry that is getting bad press to become sustainable and this investment shows our commitment to make this a reality. It will help to increase the amount the UK recycles and encourage recyclable materials and designs for products, and discourage the use of harder to recycle options such as black plastic and polystyrene yogurt pots.
“We still have a long way to go to 2025 but it’s extremely positive. Recycling is a chain of events from manufacturer, consumer to recycler and we need each part of the chain to make changes to have successful scalable results.”
The recycling plant had previously been owned by plastics recycling firm, Closed Loop, but the company was placed into administration in 2015, with the business having posted losses due to challenging trading conditions. Veolia took over the running of the plant in 2016.