Eurokey announces UK’s first ‘supermarket sorting line’

Eurokey Recycling Ltd has unveiled plans to invest £15 million into the UK’s first ‘supermarket sorting line’.

Managed by waste management company Reconomy, Eurokey plans on using the sorting technology specifically to recover and recycle film and flexible plastics from the grocery and retail sectors. The sorting line will measure 75,000 square feet and will be capable of processing approximately 70,000 tonnes of film and flexible plastic annually. As a result, Eurokey asserts that customers will ‘ultimately be able to reprocess all their flexible and film plastics in the UK’.

A pile of flexible plasticsAmongst the different sorts of film and flexible plastic targeted for sorting are multi-polymer sort and packaging from bakery and confectionery products; bags from prepared salad; and food trays. There will be a unique focus on the processing of polymers including polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Eurokey hopes that, as a result, the quality of materials recovered will exceed those achieved by municipal and general commercial waste recycling facilities. It also hopes that overall levels of wastage will be significantly reduced.

The infrastructure is expected to be operational from the summer of 2022, with Environment Agency (EA) permits for the development of the Kettering site currently in the process of confirmation. Eurokey states that it is anticipated that the investment will generate 40-50 jobs in the surrounding area.

John Dhillon, Managing Director at Eurokey, commented: “This ground-breaking UK solution has been in development for the past three years which has been expedited now that we are part of the Reconomy Group.

“It will undoubtedly have a hugely influential role in enabling the UK to better manage its plastic waste, realising both its commercial and environmental value and reducing our reliance on export. We see this as only the start though and have a number of other exciting projects in the pipeline to further bolster UK recycling infrastructure.”

Reconomy’s CEO, Paul Cox, said: “This investment forms a vital part of the Reconomy Group’s exciting growth strategy and demonstrates our commitment to being a leading enabler in the development of the circular economy.

“Building infrastructure to recover more of these under-recycled resources is another example of us working to meet the challenges faced by our customers. In doing so, we are helping them to build more commercially and environmentally sustainable businesses for the future.”