Axion Consulting is a recycling consolidation firm based in Manchester and they have recently completed research showing that it is possible to create useful products from film packaging that has already been used by consumers.
The research has been funded by WRAP, the Waste and Resource Action Programme and in the research manufacturers were working with plastic films that had already been used by the consumer. The material from the trials was gathered by the waste disposal company Biffa and it was taken from household waste that is collected from the Kerbside.
The trial utilised three different types of film that came from different locations across the UK. As well as coming directly from consumers some of the waste came from supermarkets. This type of waste was provided by Jayplas.
In order to see whether anything could be manufactured from the waste plastics, several processing trials were conducted. This, in part, involved different types of film being separated in the waste, as well as testing to see whether recycled plastic pellets could be used to make black sacks.
Once this sort of preprocessing was completed, the various plastic films were sent to manufacturers, who were working in partnership with the program, to conduct trials. One company was responsible for manufacturing refuse sacks and this was done in Telford by the company CeDo Limited.
Another company, Centriforce Products Limited were using the processed plastic films to create a type of plastic panel, this manufacturing was conducted at the company’s Liverpool plant. Another type of panel was also successfully constructed by Protomax Plastics based in Swansea.
One of the best results was seen with the refuse sacks as the completed product was seen to meet all existing product specifications for nonrecycled bags. The product was successfully created from 100 percent recycled material only sourced from the UK.
A substitute for plywood has also been created by the companies Protomax and Centriforce from recycled plastics. These boards are thought to have application in many areas such as creating shelving and security panels.
The trials have been claimed to be a great success and product specifications are currently being refined and negotiations are taking place with retailers. It is expected that these initial results are going to open up a new market for recycled plastics.
Roger Morton is the director of Axion and he has stated, “This is an enormous step forward and it is going to greatly improve the recycling capacity of the UK. We expect that consumer demand for recycled plastic materials is going to greatly boost the demand and help create a large market for recycled plastics.
I expect that this expansion is going to come within the next four years and it is going to have a knock-on effect for producers. They are going to start increasing manufacturing facilities and this will also encourage councils to collect more waste plastic”.