Revolutionary plant to turn waste plastic bottles into food packaging

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 2nd July 2008

Plastic recycling has been improved with a revolutionary plant in London being the first to recycle waste plastic bottles back into useful food packaging material.

Closed Loop Recycling will take 35,000 tonnes of recovered plastic bottles, including milk and soft drink bottles and turn them back into recycled raw material for new food and drink packaging. The plant will divert a significant amount of waste from landfill. The first customers to purchase the recycled food grade plastic from the plant include leading beverage producer Coca-Cola and prominent UK retailer Marks & Spencer.

Closed Loop believe that the new plant is a very exciting step forward for the recycling industry. “This plant represents the evidence that the UK is undergoing a recycling revolution – until now there has been no facility to recycle bottles back into plastic food packaging”, explains Chris Dow, Managing Director, Closed Loop Recycling. “The industry and consumer are now viewing recycled plastic in a completely new light, it is no longer waste, it is a valuable resource. In addition, each plastic bottle that we recycle reduces the bottle’s carbon footprint by around 25%.”

Dr Liz Goodwin, CEO of WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), adds that the plant is representative of the change taking place in the UK. “WRAP is currently focused on a range of key developments which are delivering a step change in plastics recycling in the UK,” she said. “The new Closed Loop Recycling London plant represents an exciting and significant move forward in the UK’s ability to recycle plastic, which saves natural resources, reduces carbon and delivers real action on climate change.”

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Londoners want to be green and recycle more, so it is welcome news that this state-of-the-art recycling plant in Dagenham is now open to recycle tonnes of the capital’s plastic waste that was previously destined for landfill. This is good for London and good for the environment.”

Coca Cola Enterprises (CCE) is supporting the scheme, as part of its wider environmental commitments. Hubert Patricot, Managing Director Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd, claims the company is keen to support such initiatives as they look to the future. “Sustainable packaging is something we are committed to. We have a goal to use on average 25% recycled PET across CCE’s European operations by the end of 2010,” he advised. “We are delighted that Closed Loop Recycling’s plant in London will help us purchase recycled PET here in the UK. It’s very encouraging to see a process that allows waste to be collected from UK consumers, reprocessed locally, with the recycled product being put back to use in our factories across the UK.”


Other early supporters of the project and amongst the first customers of the new plant are Nampak Plastics, Solo Cup (Europe) and Reynolds Food Packaging. All of these companies are major suppliers to the food packaging and food service sectors in the UK.

Using leading edge technologies, Closed Loop Recycling will turn what may have been previously exported to developing countries at low value or discarded into landfill into new material suitable for food and drink packaging. Thus, creating a circle of constantly recycled plastic.