Plastic bottles set to get sorted

Alternative Waste Solutions (AWS) has opened a post-consumer plastic bottle sorting plant in Lincolnshire. A major buyer of all grades of waste plastics as well as steel cans, AWS found itself exporting over 20,000 tonnes of mixed plastic bottles to the Far East.

With this base tonnage behind the company, plans were made to open a UK-based plastic bottle sorting plant. The Hemswell site in Lincolnshire was chosen for its central location to existing supply sites throughout the UK and Ireland.

The plastic bottles are purchased from both local authorities and recycling companies and being post-consumer, are predominantly from kerbside collection schemes and bring banks.

Every load of material entering the plant is analysed for the yield of various types of plastics and quality and cleanliness of material are reflected in prices paid. Opening the AWS plant at Hemswell enables suppliers to secure a long term UK outlet for their bottles and avoid the increasingly erratic Asian markets.

Much of the equipment used in the plant is bespoke and sourced from the UK and China while German company Titech have provided the NIR scanning equipment. Bottles are typically granulated into a flake at the plant and end up as a wide variety of new plastic products including fleece jackets, plastic pipes and toys.

After encountering initial teething problems, AWS are now ramping up production and the company will aim for a minimum throughput of 30,000 tonnes.

A second line is also being considered, which if implemented would double throughput to 60,000 tonnes. With an average of 20,000 bottles per ton this would equate to 1,200 million plastic bottles annually.

Alternative Waste Solutions

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