£0.8m research to accelerate coloured plastic recycling

Solving the coloured plastics problem

The UK sends around 1m tonnes of coloured rigid plastic to landfill or incineration each year. This is because it either cannot be detected by recycling sorting machines or it produces such a low grade of recyclate that it is not commercially viable to process it. The PolyMet project seeks to provided a viable solution to this colossal problem.

£0.8m Innovate UK funding

Project lead partner Impact Solutions have secured a £0.8m Innovate UK grant to develop the PolyMet process which aims to offer the first commercial method for removing pigment dispersed in mixed coloured rigid recyclates without destroying the original polymers.

Doubling the value of recycled plastic

PolyMet treated material could be sold into the higher value recyclate market, doubling the value of recycled coloured plastic and helping to reduce the reliance on virgin plastic in manufacture. This in turn has the potential to increase new UK PRNs, reduce landfill and prevent export of plastic waste.

Ensuring maximum industry impact

Ecosurety financially backed the initial research phase of PolyMet in 2017 and is now acting as a key consultant to advise on which plastics and pigments will have the maximum industry impact. This will ensure that the technology is developed in line with industry requirements. The vision is for PolyMet to be a low-cost technology that can be easily incorporated into existing recycling facilities.

Stabilising PRN costs

Over the 24 month project duration, Impact Solutions will seek to scale up the process to a commercially viable level. By enabling more material to be recycled in the UK it has the potential to generate many new jobs and help stabilise PRN costs for producers. Modelling has shown that just a 1% increase in PRNs can help to significantly reduce prices.

Seeking plastic producers to get involved

Ecosurety invites plastic manufacturers and producers who would like to participate in the development and testing of the PolyMet project using their own plastic packaging to get in touch to find out more information.
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"We look forward to working with Ecosurety over the next two years with the shared vision of creating a new technology that can transform the UK market through increased capacity, revenue and jobs." Tom Rose Photo Tom Rose CEO, Impact Solutions