Resource Use

Closed Loop ‘world’s biggest milk bottle recycler’


Plastic bottle recycling company Closed Loop Recycling has announced that it is ‘significantly’ expanding its high-density polyethylene(HDPE) recycling infrastructure at its East London plant to meet growing demand.

According to the company ­– the ‘first in the world to recycle both PET and HDPE plastic bottles into food-grade material for new food and drink packaging’ – it will increase capacity at the Dagenham-based plant to 55,000 tonnes per annum, making it the ‘biggest recycler of milk bottles in the world’.

The plant currently has the capacity to process 35,000 tonnes of mixed plastic bottles, producing 11,000 tonnes of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and 6,000 tonnes of recycled HDPE per annum. 

The move has reportedly come to ‘to fully meet the demands of the dairy industry which increasingly requires higher levels of rHDPE in its milk bottles’

Closed Loop has said the extended capacity will reduce carbon emissions by 30,000 tonnes and make the Dagenham plant the ‘most advanced plastics purification facility in the UK’. It added that it hopes the expansion will ‘double’ the supply of recycled HDPE to the UK market.

Along with the lease of an additional three acres of land, the HDPE expansion forms part of the company’s previously announced development of the Dagenham facility.

‘Enormous potential for the future’ 

Speaking of the expansion, Chris Dow, CEO of Closed Loop Recycling, said: “Recycled milk bottles are a massive win for the circular economy. The increased demand for recycled content is an example of the whole industry working together – retailers, producers, brands and industry bodies – to implement an ambitious plan. This has created a sustainable business model with enormous potential for the future.

“There has been a huge commitment from the companies in this sector, including our customers, who have invested in technology and plants to complete the HDPE recycling loop. I am confident that our expansion will bring the 2020 target of 50 per cent recycled material in plastic bottles closer.”

The news was welcomed by Dr Liz Goodwin, Chief Executive of WRAP, who commented: “Closed Loop Recycling’s expansion in order to meet forecast demand for recycled content in milk bottle packaging is the perfect example of how businesses can work together to achieve the economic and environmental benefits of a circular economy. It’s great to see circular economy ideas being converted into positive action.”

Alongside the expansion, Closed Loop Recycling is implementing an awareness campaign with local authorities to increase collection rates of milk bottles. This will support the ongoing goals of the Dairy Roadmap, which aims to deliver ‘environmental improvements’ within the dairy industry.

Read more about Closed Loop Recycling.