Mercers funding will see company increase plastics recycling capacity

Mercers has received investments totalling £6.1 million, which it will use to increase its capacity for recycling ethylene-based plastics.

The producer of damp-proof membranes claims that the funding, some of which is sourced through the implementation of a packaging recovery note (PRN) system, will see production increase by 66 per cent. Mercers converts this plastic packaging waste into its saleable products, asserting that through putting the money towards new, high-tech Valpak equipment it will be able to recycle up to 50,000 tonnes of the material annually.

Mercers Valpak machineryThe infrastructure will shred ethylene-based plastic waste, including high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE), before heating the scraps until they form a liquid. This will then be filtered, pelletised, and moulded in order to produce the company’s Toughsheet membrane. The new equipment will be more powerful than the previous machinery, as well as being more ‘carbon-friendly’, providing an energy saving of 30 per cent, according to Mercers.

The new equipment is currently in the commissioning phase, expected to be implemented in its entirety by January 2022. In tandem with this, Mercers will also employ an additional 26 employees, to join the existing staff of 74.

Ben Richardson, Procurement Director at Valpak, which worked with Mercers to secure the PRN, commented: “This is exactly the kind of investment we need to ensure that UK packaging waste is securely recycled on these shores. As a manufacturer, as well as a recycling business, Mercers offers additional circularity by guaranteeing a market for the material recycled.

“Across the industry, we are seeing greater demand for UK-produced PRNs, while upcoming legislation, such as the Plastic Packaging Tax, is driving demand for recycled material. At Valpak, 65 per cent of our PRNs are sourced from UK reprocessors – compared with a UK market average of 48 per cent – and we support UK recycling wherever possible.”

Managing Director at Mercers, Doug Mercer, said: “We see stories in the news about UK waste being dumped in the Far East. This investment will help to make sure that UK waste packaging stays in the UK where it can be properly recycled.”