As part of its broader approach to sustainability, Nestlé UK and Ireland has partnered with a new recycling company, Yes Recycling, based in Scotland to deal with hard-to-recycle plastics, reports Neill Barston.
According to the company, Fife’s multi-million-pound plastic recycling plant is expected to transform flexible plastics, typically used in food packaging, for new use as building materials.
Nestlé, the first investor in Yes Recycling, has provided a £ 1.65million pre-investment for the site, which, when it opens, will have the capacity to take 15,000 tonnes of materials from the confectionery maker and produce an alternative to plywood for use in construction, retail spaces and the agricultural industry.
The packaging, such as KitKat packaging, Purina pet food pouches, Rowntree confectionery sharing bags and Nestlé cereal bags, will be taken from the curbside material collected by Cireco, based in Dunfermline, as well as of certain trade flows. In the past, this material may not have been recycled, as no recycling facility was available to handle this type of waste on a large scale locally.
The packaging is then transported to the Yes Recycling plant where it is washed and sorted, then broken down and transformed into granules. Finally, these pellets are compressed to form the new plastic sheet, called Ecosheet, which can be used and possibly recycled again.
The pre-investment was managed by Ecosurety on behalf of Nestlé through the forward sale of Packaging Recovery Notes (PRN) which will be provided to Nestlé when the plastic recycling plant is operational. The innovative approach of providing a pre-investment through PRNs has enabled Yes Recycling to invest in this new flexible plastic recycling facility in the UK.
This is the first time in the UK that these types of flexible plastics, sourced from curbside collections, will be recycled on a large scale, with the factory set to fully open by the end of 2021.
Group Packaging Manager at Nestlé UK and Ireland, Alison Bramfitt, said: “It’s really exciting to partner with Yes Recycling and help fund this new factory in Fife. We are working hard at Nestlé to create circularity for our packaging so that it can have multiple lives and uses and does not end up as waste in landfills. Being able to partner with pioneering technology like this is just one of the ways we are moving forward on this journey.
“We are committed to making 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 and to reducing our use of virgin plastics by a third during the same period. It’s fantastic to see our packaging give something useful a second life, and we are looking at many partnerships to help encourage recycling infrastructure in the UK.
“Earlier this year, we announced collaborations with other manufacturers to create the Soft plastic funds and the Flexible packaging consortiumbecause we know that working together and creating partnerships can have the most impact on our planet, ”said Bramfitt.
Omer Kutluoglu, owner of Yes Recycling, said: “Without the significant financial support from Nestlé, our revolutionary hard-to-recycle materials factory would never have been possible. Supporting domestic recycling and developing innovative solutions for complex plastics is a necessity for the environment and the economy.
“Yes Recycling recognizes the work done by Nestlé to reduce packaging and create recyclable alternatives. Packaging presented as difficult to recycle will be recycled in our new factory in Fife. The project enables change for the better and Nestlé is at the forefront of facilitating these changes. “