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News 13.01.2011

AWS Unveils Mammoth Plastic Sorting Facility

End of November 2010, more than 250 guests were present to witness the official opening of…

Opening to signal a new dawn in UK low-carbon packaging

End of November 2010, more than 250 guests were present to witness the official opening of AWS Eco Plastics’ new facility in North Lincolnshire. A little over 14 months after the plant was devastated by a fire which destroyed its entire sorting and storage area, the plastic bottle sorting facility was unveiled by DEFRA Director of Waste and Resources, Neil Thornton. Capable of processing more than 100,000 tonnes of waste plastic or 2,000,000,000 bottles a year, the Hemswell factory is the largest and most sophisticated in Europe.

Valued at over £17 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. Indeed, because it boasts an industry-leading 17 polymer and optical sorters the plant 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 % 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 annum by the end of the year, this will mean that the Hemswell facility would single-handedly be responsible for almost 50 % 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.

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