Recycling Technologies, a specialist plastic recycling technology provider; Neste, an international chemicals company, and Unilever have launched a collaborative project that aims to develop and harness chemical recycling to recover and reuse plastic packaging that is currently either incinerated, buried in landfill or exported from the UK.
The joint project has been awarded a £3.1m grant from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to develop chemical recycling by combining the expertise of the companies in their respective business areas to make hard-to-recycle plastic packaging recyclable.
In this three-year project, Recycling Technologies will take waste plastic packaging and process it using its recycling machinery to turn it into an oil, called Plaxx.
This material will then be delivered to Neste to analyse and test its quality and suitability for further upgrading it into high-quality drop-in feedstock for the production of new, virgin-quality plastics, such as plastic packaging.
Unilever, joining an established collaboration between Recycling Technologies and Neste, will bring insight on design for recycling for packaging.
The grant will help support Recycling Technologies’ chemical recycling plant being built currently at Binn Farm in Perthshire, Scotland.
The alliance seeks to demonstrate new added-value applications for hard-to-recycle waste plastic materials, such as films, sachets and pouches, using them to create output that can be used to make new packaging.
Commenting on this new development, Adrian Griffiths, founder and chief executive of Recycling Technologies, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this grant from UKRI to move the UK to the forefront of the next generation of plastic recycling systems.
"Our collaboration with Neste will allow us to refine and improve our technology to produce valuable feedstock from waste plastic that can be incorporated into the petrochemicals industry supply chain to increase the content of recycled plastic in new plastic production.”
Sebastian Munden, executive vice president, Unilever UK & Ireland, added: “We’re really pleased to be part of this collaboration with Recycling Technologies and Neste, developing a solution for plastic which is currently difficult to recycle, including plastic films and flexible packaging.
“As part of this collaboration, we’ve committed to looking at the design of our products for greater recyclability, as well as the possibility to use the recycled material back in our product packaging, which would create the end market and value for the materials.
“Unilever is committed to halving the amount of virgin plastic we use in our packaging by 2025, including increasing our use of recycled plastic. Collaboration between partners and industry experts is so important, as together we can develop solutions with innovations that are effective and scalable.”