Food giant Nestlé has announced a GBP 7 million investment in Impact Recycling, a UK-based plastics recycler which is building a new plant in Durham, northern England.
Impact Recycling, established in 2014, has developed a plastic recycling technology which separates post-consumer mixed plastic waste to recover two consistent streams of post-consumer resin (PCR); polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), each with a 98% purity. Called Baffled Oscillation Separation System (BOSS), the technology separates the ‘hard to recycle’ stream of mixed waste plastics by amplifying slight differences in relative densities between polymers through the manipulation of fluid dynamic principles of water. The company’s patented system uses oscillation to generate specific flow patterns in the water, which affect different polymer types in different ways.
The new Durham site will process flexible plastics typically used in food packaging, which according to a 2020 Plastics Recyclers’ report have a rate of recycling of only 14% in the European Union. Packaging such as KitKat wrappers, Purina pet food pouches, Rowntree confectionery sharing bags and Nestlé Cereal bags, will be collected from major supermarket collection points so they can be recycled.
The facility is expected to be operational in late summer 2024 and have a capacity to process 25,000 tonnes of plastic a year. Nestlé said in a statement that the site will have the ‘potential to recycle more than the amount of flexible plastic packaging Nestlé UK and Ireland places on the market.’ The facility will transform the hard-to-recycle plastics into pellets which can be used to make new flexible products such as postbags and refuse bags.
“I am thrilled to be joining forces with Impact Recycling and helping fund this new plant in Durham,”said Sokhna Gueye, head of packaging at Nestlé UK & Ireland. “At Nestlé, we are dedicated to ensuring our packaging can have multiple lives and doesn't end up as waste in landfill. Supporting innovative technologies like this is just one of the many steps we are taking towards achieving this goal."
Impact Recycling has been operating a PE and PP separation technology plant in Newcastle, England, since 2018. With an annual capacity of 6,000 tonnes, it recycles mixed rigid waste plastic feedstock and produces recycled PE and PP post-consumer resin.