Nestlé backs Yes Recycling’s flexible plastics plant

Nestlé UK and Ireland announced yesterday (22 September) it has provided Yes Recycling with a ‘pre-investment’ of £1.65 million for the firm’s flexible plastic recycling facility in Glenrothes, Fife.

An aerial view of Yes Recycling's flexible plastics recycling plant in Fife

Set to open “fully” by the end of 2021, the 15,000-tonnes-per year capacity plant will turn flexible plastics, such as those typically used in food packaging, into building materials.

Nestlé said its pre-investment was managed on its behalf by Ecosurety through the forward sale of packaging recovery notes (PRNs), to be supplied to the food company once the plant is in operation.

In a statement, Alison Bramfitt, group packaging manager at Nestlé UK and Ireland, said: “It is really exciting to be partnering with Yes Recycling and helping fund this new plant in Fife.

“We are working hard at Nestlé to create circularity for our packaging so it can have multiple lives and uses and doesn’t end up as waste in landfill. Being able to partner with pioneering technology such as this is just one of the ways we are taking steps forward on this journey.”

Zero Waste Scotland has also supported Yes Recycling’s project with an investment of £520,000 from the Circular Economy Investment Fund. Yes Recycling says other partners involved in the project include Scottish Development International (SDI), Scottish Enterprise, InvestFife and Business Gateway Fife.

Packaging

Yes Recycling’s Fife facility will process packaging such as KitKat wrappers, Purina pet food pouches and cereal bags collected by Dunfermline-based Cireco as part of Fife council’s kerbside service.

Yes Recycling says its Fife facility will process packaging such as KitKat wrappers (picture: Shutterstock)

The packaging will be collected as part of residents’ normal service for dry mixed recyclables, and not as a separate stream. The packaging will be separated from other recyclables at Cireco’s Dunfermline materials recycling facility.

In addition to the kerbside-collected plastic, the Fife facility will also process “some” commercial streams, Yes Recycling says.

After transportation to the Yes Recycling plant, the packaging will be washed and sorted, then broken down and turned into pellets.

These pellets are compressed to form a new plastic sheet called Ecosheet, an alternative to plywood to be used in construction, retail spaces and the agriculture industry.

Yes Recycling says it is the “first time in the UK” that these types of flexible plastic, gathered from kerbside collections, will be recycled “at scale”.

‘Hard-to-recycle’ plastics

Buckinghamshire-based Yes Recycling says it specialises in ‘hard-to-recycle’ plastics, such as banknotes, hard hats and printed packaging film, and post-industrial and construction waste streams.

Without the significant financial support of Nestle, our ground-breaking plant for hard-to-recycle materials could never have come to fruition
– Omer Kutluoglu, co-founder and director of Yes Recycling

The business created The National Hard Hat Recycling Scheme, which has members from across the UK committing to preventing sending hard hats to landfill (see letsrecycle.com story).

Speaking about the development of the new facility in Fife, Omer Kutluoglu, co-founder and director of Yes Recycling, said: “Without the significant financial support of Nestle, our ground-breaking plant for hard-to-recycle materials could never have come to fruition. Supporting domestic recycling and developing innovative solutions for complex plastics is a necessity for the environment and the economy.”

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