Expansion plans for plastic recycling

Recoup, the plastics industry's recycling consortium, has announced plans for a major polymer sorting facility. It is also about to launch several new collection schemes, focussing on polymer sorting by the public.

Recoup now has 44 members, including newcomers Enichem, Lever Brothers and Shell Chemicals. It runs 15 collection schemes and collected over 2,000 tonnes of plastic in 1991.

A major feature of the organisation's plans for 1992 is the construction of a 20-30 tonnes per week polymer sorting plant in association with a city council to investigate more effective sorting practices and technology. However, Recoup says it will need Government grant-aid to proceed with the scheme. Meanwhile, it will continue to help develop four smaller plastic sorting plants in Leeds, Teesside, Milton Keynes and a fourth undisclosed location.

New collection schemes are to be launched in April and May in Surrey Heath, Folkestone and Hemel Hempstead. The Surrey Heath scheme, with its seven banks split for different polymers, reflects Recoup's current thinking that preliminary sorting must be carried out by the public to make recycling more cost-effective. Mixed plastics fetch £50 per tonne on delivery to the processor, but separated plastic gets £100 per tonne at the collection point - more than doubling income.

A pilot plastics separation scheme in Burton-upon-Trent (ENDS Report 202, p 8) has been achieving accuracy rates of 70-75%, and this may improve when consumers become more competent at distinguishing different plastics - and more manufacturers assist them by using polymer marking systems.

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