Plastics recycling will be ‘key focus’ in 2012

Boosting plastics recycling in the UK will be a "key focus" for 2012 as the sector continues to develop PET and HDPE bottles recycling technologies.

That is according to resource and recovery specialist Keith Freegard, who predicts further investment in technology and equipment capable of extracting a wider range of materials from mixed plastics collections.

Axion Consulting, which develops processes to improve waste resource recovery, director Mr Freegard said while current primary sorting Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and bottle-sorting Plastic Recovery Facilities (PRFs) have been developed in response to PET and HDPE recyclate demand that new infrastructure must be “capable of extracting value from other rigid plastics and films” in order to achieve “higher overall plastic packaging recycling targets”.

He added: “To get even higher bottle recycling rates, UK Plc has to find viable technologies to deal with mixed rigid plastics, films and the inevitable residuals.”

As a result, he predicts that 2012 will see “increasing importance placed on MRF optimisation including the use of sophisticated modelling, sampling and analysis services”.

Meanwhile, he adds that greater emphasis on rigid post-consumer plastic packaging and films could also lead to more “co-ordinated'” approach in overcoming challenges presented by difficult to recycle waste streams.

In order to tackle these more challenging waste streams, Mr Freegard proposes the construction of integrated ‘resource parks’ which can process varied and mixed streams.

Carys Matthews

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie