Canadian Packaging

AWS unveils mammoth plastic sorting facility

AWS Eco Plastics, Europe’s largest recycler of mixed plastic bottles, has opened a new facility in North Lincolnshire, UK, just over 14 months after a fire destroyed its previous sorting and storage area.


November 25, 2010
by Canadian Packaging Staff

Hemswell, UK – AWS Eco Plastics, Europe’s largest recycler of mixed plastic bottles, has opened a new facility in North Lincolnshire, UK, just over 14 months after a fire destroyed its previous sorting and storage area.

Capable of processing more than 100,000 tonnes of waste plastic or 2-billion bottles a year, the Hemswell factory is considered the largest and most sophisticated in Europe.

Costing over £17 million (Cdn $27 million), the new facility features state-of-the-art equipment developed by leading manufacturers Stadler, TITECH and Herbold, and is capable of processing a diverse range of plastic feedstocks. It boasts an industry-leading 17 polymer and optical sorters, and has a flexible output of 11 different streams of plastic, ensuring that it is virtually zero-waste.

A key market for the new facility is the creation of food-grade PET. In recent years the UK has seen a huge increase in demand for the plastic, as major food and beverage brands have looked to reduce their environmental impact through the use of low-carbon packaging. Independent research has shown that products made with recycled plastic from the AWS Eco Plastic site are 68 percent less carbon-intensive than packaging made with virgin materials.

Driven in part by this, the business has aggressive expansion plans, expecting to increase processing capacity at the site to 140,000 tonnes by mid 2011. With the UK projected to recycle 300,000 tonnes of plastic bottles per year, meaning that the Hemswell facility would single-handedly be responsible for almost 50 per cent of the national total in 2010.

The business employs over 130 people with 110 of those employed on the processing site itself. Having recently acquired additional land surrounding the site the company has the space required for further expansion.

Jonathan Short, managing director of AWS Eco Plastics says: “… (this) is just the first step for AWS Eco Plastics. There is huge potential in the UK market and this can only grow as the demand for low-carbon food and drink packaging increases. This is a growth industry in which the UK has the potential to be a world-leader, a prime example of the Government’s low-carbon economy.”

For more information, visit www.awsecoplastics.com.