PlasRecycle has built the UK’s first facility for reprocessing post-consumer polythene bags and packaging films.
It will produce a plastic granulate that can be used for making new bags, replacing virgin materials.
The new plant in Woolwich, south east London, will create 32 jobs and should be fully operational before the end of the year.
It is currently sourcing feedstock from waste companies and retailers.
The plant can process 20,000 tonnes per year of used plastic films, to produce a clean plastic granulate with multiple uses including in the manufacture of new black sacks and carrier bags.
PlasRecycle has spent the last three years developing a proprietary high tech process which is environmentally friendly and converts what has been historically regarded as a waste material into a useful product.
The company has raised £10.7 million in finance from investors including Foresight Environmental Fund, the London Waste & Recycling Board, WRAP and private investors.
PlasRecycle founder and chief executive Duncan Grierson said: “This pioneering project is a UK first and as well as recycling bags back into a high quality plastic pellet for reuse, we are creating over 30 new green jobs.
“Scientific research by the Environment Agency confirms that polythene carrier bags have a much better carbon footprint than alternatives such as paper bags. We are pleased to be making a contribution to the UK meeting the environmental targets set by the EU’s Waste Framework Directive and the Climate Change Bill.”
PlasRecycle chairman Paul Levett added: “PlasRecycle brings a green option to local authorities and businesses who have previously had little choice but to export, landfill or incinerate their waste plastic bags and packaging film. This initiative will create green jobs in UK and can by a key part of producer responsibility programmes for the packaging and retail industries.”
Environment Minister Lord de Mauley also welcomed the plant. He said: “This new recycling plant shows that dealing with waste and recycling properly is not only good for the environment but can boost economic growth and create jobs.
“I’m delighted to see this sector growing and improving our ability to recycle more here in the UK. There is a huge global market for waste and recycling and I want to see UK businesses leading the way on this and helping us compete in the global race.”