Nestlé has provided a £7m loan to a soon-to-launch plastic recycling plant in Durham, which will process packaging such as Kit Kat wrappers and Purina petfood pouches into pellets to make bin bags and other products.
The facility will use the Baffled Oscillation Separation System (or BOSS method) to sort waste plastics by spinning them in water. The different plastics either sink or float, depending on their density, making it easier to separate and recycle them.
The Impact Recycling plant – which is also being backed by a grant from Innovate UK – is expected to be operational by late summer next year.
Hard-to-recycle flexible plastic packaging – which Nestlé uses in its Rowntree confectionery sharing bags and cereal bags – will be collected from supermarket drop-off points so they can be recycled at the plant. The plant will produce pellets that can be used to make bin bags and post bags, as well as plastic films used in construction and agriculture.
“At Nestlé, we are dedicated to ensuring our packaging can have multiple lives and doesn’t end up as waste in landfill,” said Sokhna Gueye, head of packaging at Nestlé UK & Ireland.
“Our efforts continue at pace to ensure as close to 100% of our packaging is designed for recycling by 2025, and we continue to work towards all of our packaging being recyclable or reusable,” she added. “It is fantastic to see our packaging given a second life, and we are looking at many partnerships to help encourage the collection and recycling infrastructure in the UK.”
When it opens, the site will have capacity to take 25,000 tonnes of this flexible plastic, meaning it has the potential to recycle more than the amount of flexible plastic packaging Nestlé UK and Ireland currently places on the market.
“Without the funding from Nestlé this development would not have been possible,” said David Walsh, CEO of Impact Recycling.
“Through this funding, Nestlé demonstrates its unwavering commitment to innovation and the pursuit of sustainable solutions for plastic packaging.”