AWS Eco Plastics (North Lincolnshire, England) has opened its new plastic bottle sorting facility just over one year since an August 2009 fire destroyed its entire sorting and storage area. The new £17 million site will have an annual capacity to process 100,000 tonnes of waste plastic or two million bottles, utilizing Stadler, TITECH, and Herbold equipment. AWS says its 17 polymer and optical sorters are capable of processing 11 different streams of plastic.
One key stream will be food-grade PET, which has experienced a surge in demand in the UK, as major food and beverage brands ask their suppliers to source the material. AWS has built in expansion plans for the site, purchasing adjacent land, with the expectation that it will increase processing capacity at the site to 140,000 tonnes by mid 2011. The UK is projected to recycle 300,000 tonnes of plastic bottles annually by the end of the year, making AWS' Hemswell facility ultimately responsible for nearly 50% of the national total in 2010. The business has more than 130 employees, with 110 of those working at the processing site.
According to RECOUP (RECycling Of Used Plastics), 45% of plastic bottles in the U.K. are currently collected for recycling, up 6% over 2009. Those figures courtesy of the group's 2010 UK Household Plastics Packaging Collection Survey, which also found that more than 260,000 tonnes of plastic bottles were collected in 2009, with the large increase attributable to curbside collection.