Business Minister visits UK's first plastic film recycling plant

Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon has paid a visit to the UK's first shopping bag and plastic film recycling facility in London.

Left Fallon Right Grierson

Left Fallon Right Grierson

The new Woolwich-based facility, which started operations in late 2013, uses a high tech proprietary process developed by PlasRecycle over the past four years, to reprocess up to 20,000 tonnes per annum of used shopping bags and plastic films. 

The plant produces a plastic granulate that can be used for making new bags, replacing virgin materials. For every tonne of plastic packaging that is reprocessed and recycled, there is a corresponding saving of 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

PlasRecycle founder and chief executive Duncan Grierson said: “We were delighted to welcome the Minister and show him around our new plant which is recycling used bags back into a high quality plastic pellet for reuse. We are pleased to be contributing to the country’s environmental targets set by the EU’s Waste Framework Directive and the Climate Change Bill.

“Scientific research by the Environment Agency has shown that regular polythene carrier bags have a much better carbon footprint than alternatives, such as paper bags and bio-degradable bags - our new plant helps to close the loop.”

Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon, who spoke to the assembled guests, said: "The innovative technology being used by PlasRecycle shows that dealing with waste and recycling properly can create jobs and boost economic growth as well as being good for the environment. The Government’s industrial strategy is giving businesses all over the country the confidence to invest, and securing highly skilled jobs and a stronger economy – including here in Woolwich.”

PlasRecycle chairman Paul Levett added: “We are pleased that our initiative is not only creating green jobs in the UK, but can be a key part of producer responsibility programmes for the packaging and retail industries. With this new solution, Local Authorities can now actively ask their residents to put carrier bags and other films into their recycling boxes."

Other guests attending the visit included representatives from Foresight Group, the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), the Greater London Authority (GLA) and Waste & Resources Action Plan (WRAP).

Liz Gyekye
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