Bright Green Plastics invests £750k in sorting technology

An investment of £750,000 has been made by plastics reprocessing company Bright Green Plastics to develop a new sorting facility, which is set to be fully operational by the end of this month (July 2020).

The investment covers the cost of the plant, civil engineering and installation, and will allow Bright Green Plastics, which recycles over 40,000 tonnes of household and commercial waste into reusable materials each year, to increase its recycling capacity.

By opening a new sorting plant, based in Castleford in West Yorkshire, Bright Green Plastics hopes to boost recycling capacity. The plant will be able to take mixed plastics and 3D materials that have been collected at kerbside and sort them by polymer type and colour, sifting out metals, paper and other residual waste.

Craig Davison, manager of the plant, commented: “We’re set to play a key role in increasing the UK’s recycling capacity. Getting to work with the very latest technology to keep perfectly good, recyclable plastic in the UK is a huge step in the right direction for our industry after what’s been an extremely challenging time.”

Though the plant was originally planned to open in January 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic brought these plans to a halt.

Steve Spencer, managing director of Bright Green Plastics, said: “This investment will reduce the core costs within our business, however, we are also excited by the fact it will create more jobs in an area, whilst boosting the UK plastic reprocessing industry — which has been badly affected by Covid-19 — by creating more recycling capacity.”

Bright Green Plastics is confident that the plant will positively impact the amount of reusable plastic that is currently being exported from the UK. Steve Spencer added: “the new UK sorting plant is likely to discourage exporting of mixed materials due to this new UK based processing capacity to sort the plastics into single stream polymers prior to recycling”.

A recent amendment to the Basel Convention has placed a limit on the export of mixed and contaminated plastics to other countries, meaning the UK will have to manage plastic waste within its own borders.

The new sorting plant is part of the company’s long-term investment plan, which aims to upgrade equipment to meet national demand for sorting facilities in the UK, both to address the ban on exported plastics to China in 2021 and to prepare for the introduction of the UK Government’s plastic tax in 2022.