Nestlé UK and Ireland has joined forces with Plastic Energy, a major chemical recycling company, with the aim of developing a plant in the UK.

The two companies will come together to explore the scope for the first commercial large-scale facility of its kind in the UK.

Plastic Energy, which already has two similar recycling plants in Spain, uses and develops specialist recycling technology to transform traditionally hard-to-recycle plastic waste, such as confectionery wrappers, dry pet food pouches and breakfast cereal bags, into recycled oils called TACOIL. These can then be used as a replacement for fossil oils to make food-grade plastics.

A preliminary study with the aim of developing the new plant in the UK will be conducted by Plastic Energy, partially funded by Nestlé UK and Ireland. This will start in early November and will take around six months to complete.

Nestlé continues to explore new ways to both recycle packaging and increase food-grade recycled content within it. Plastic Energy’s recycling technology offers both a sustainable solution for hard-to-recycle plastic packaging that would otherwise go to landfill or incineration and an innovative source of high quality recyclate to use in Nestlé products.

Group packaging manager at Nestlé UK and Ireland, Alison Bramfitt said: “The issue of packaging waste is one where we all have a role to play, to not only cut our use of virgin plastic, but also make sure the plastic in our packaging has a second life. We are working hard to create a circular life span for our packaging so it can have multiple lives and uses, and partnering with Plastic Energy is just one of the ways we are taking steps forward on this journey.

“We want to increase the amount of recycled plastic we use but there are currently real challenges in the supply of recycled content for food packaging in the UK. That’s why we are excited about the potential of this partnership with Plastic Energy. We hope the outcome of the feasibility study will help offer more insight into the options for supporting the infrastructure in recycling capability in this country.”

Carlos Monreal, founder and chief executive of Plastic Energy said: “We are excited to partner with Nestlé on this project which we hope will pave the way for brands to start incorporating more recycled content into their products. Our goal at Plastic Energy is to support a circular economy for plastics by recycling end-of-life plastics that would otherwise go to landfill or incineration. The recycled oils that we produce from our process replace fossil oils to create new virgin-quality plastics that can be used for food-grade packaging.”

(+)