Axion Consulting has said that recycling of post-consumer and retail plastic film could be commercially viable in four years.
Following the outcome of successful feasibility trials, the company has said that refuse sacks, external hoardings, shelving and in-store displays that could be made from waste supermarket plastics and either sold or reused within their store networks. Plastic films collected by local authorities could also potentially be used for these products.
Axion worked with three leading manufacturers CeDO, Centriforce Products and Protomax Plastics on a series of demonstration trials of post-consumer films sourced from the front and back of store of a leading retailer. The research was funded by WRAP.
The successful results of these trials could mean that manufacturers could have the confidence to invest in production capacity, which would then encourage local authorities to accept waste plastic films in their collection systems.
Axion director Roger Morton said: “This is a tremendous step in the right direction to really grow film recycling capacity in the UK over the next few years. Consumers want to see their plastic waste given a new second life as they’re now far more conscious of what they are throwing away. Ultimately, consumer demand will drive this whole closed-loop recycling process.
“While the financial viability of these potential products needs to be explored further, we believe the real interest shown by the retail sector could lead to exciting developments in the future. To that end, Axion is continuing its research into innovative closed-loop solutions to divert thousands of tonnes of plastic packaging waste from landfill.”
The trial at CeDo’s Telford facility produced refuse sacks that met existing product specifications using 100 per cent UK-sourced recycled content from household waste. Previously, European recyclate had to be used as the UK quality wasn’t good enough. CeDo is now working with retailers to launch new products.
The other trials with Centriforce and Protomax looked at developing hoardings and shelving from commingled film waste.