The Alliance to End Plastic Waste is funding a new demonstration plant to conduct Nextek’s COtooCLEAN, a water-free cleaning process to convert post-consumer PO films into food-grade materials, at commercial scale. We sat down with Nextek to dig deeper into the project’s goals – and its open invitation to potential partners.


Please could you introduce this opportunity to our readers and give some background on the COtooClean project, and well as some more general information on Nextek?

Nextek is a specialised Plastics and Recycling Consultancy with a 23-year track record in creating high-performance recycling of plastics packaging, including novel processes, along with recycling plant design for post-consumer plastics for food contact applications.

COtooCLEAN is one of Nextek’s current innovation projects and comes after the success of the NEXTLOOPP project creating food-grade recycled rPP.

COtooCLEAN is a waterless cleaning process for polyolefin films, based on low-pressure.

super-critical CO2 (ScCO2) and green co-solvents. It decontaminates polyolefin (PO) films back to food-grade standards, creating a circular solution to the largest plastic waste stream.

Nextek has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to seek a strategic partner, who will build and operate an industrial-scale demonstration decontamination plant for PE films in UK / Europe, pioneering our COtooCLEAN technology.

The plant, funded by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, will be the first commercial plant to demonstrate the technical and economic performance of the COtooCLEAN process on a commercial scale.

I’d like to drill down into the details now – what exactly would the demonstration plant do?

The demonstration plant will enable the COtooCLEAN film decontamination technology to be demonstrated at a commercial scale – allowing the process to be upscaled, tested, and refined for commercial operations, using the insights from the prototype work done so far. Rigorous trials and monitoring within the plant will provide output for regulatory approvals and optimization of factory settings.

As the name suggests, the demonstration plant will also be used to showcase the COtooCLEAN technology, deepening the understanding of interested parties. Consistent with the Alliance to End Plastic Waste’s mission, the ultimate goal is to support the acceleration towards a plastics circular economy through rapid replication of recycling plants producing food-grade polyolefins.

In your view, why should recycling partners want to take part in this project? What might some of the positive outcomes be for them?

A recycler may be interested in operating the demonstration plant for a number of reasons – they may be looking for vertical integration opportunities to complement their existing processing facilities or be keen to extend their product offering to include food-grade recycled resins. Most importantly, this is an opportunity for a company to have a pioneering role in creating circularity in polyolefin films – PE and PP – returning it to its highest value application (food contact).

What would your ideal partner for this project look like?

Our ideal partner would be an established recycler with a robust track record of recycling films in the UK or Europe.

We welcome interested parties who may not currently fit these criteria but are interested in developing such capabilities and could be considered at a later licensing stage.

How can interested parties apply, and what are the next steps?

Interested parties can find out more, download the application form and submit their proposal here. Proposals must be submitted by the 29th February. Proposals will then be shortlisted, with successful applicants contacted for further discussions and site visits.

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