British Polythene Industries (BPI) has invested £4.5m on a new wash plant at its site Rhymney, South Wales.
The equipment, which was officially unveiled on the 9 March at a ceremony attended by Welsh Government Ministers and representatives from organisations including Defra, the Environment Agency and Wrap, is the largest of its kind in the UK. It will allow BPI to recycle an additional 25,000 tonnes of waste material each year, increasing its overall capacity from 70,000 tonnes to 95,000 tonnes per annum.
The upgraded Rhymney plant will further enhance BPI's network of strategically located recycling facilities across the UK. In particular, it will focus on waste from the agricultural and horticultural sector, complementing BPI's other dedicated agricultural waste recycling facility in Dumfries.
Waste farm plastic continues to be a major problem for British farmers and growers. Up to 80,000 tonnes of this material is generated annually and there isn't currently the capacity in the UK to recycle it. Much of it is so heavily contaminated with soil, sand and other contaminants.
As a result, a large percentage of it is exported to countries including Vietnam and Malaysia where it is often recycled using primitive, manual techniques that cause damage to the local environment. A high volume of the UK's waste farm polythene is also still being sent to landfill or illegally burnt.
Commenting on the Rhymney wash plant investment, Gerry McGarry, business director for BPI Recycled Products, said: “BPI has a strong commitment to the highest levels of sustainability and has focused on employing greener products and greener working practices for over 25 years.
“This commitment has resulted in us winning numerous awards including the 2011 Sustainability Award at the Scotland plc Awards and Best Green Large Company category at the 2010 Scottish Green Awards.
“It's also the reason why we have invested into the new wash plant at Rhymney. This plant will help to increase our already extensive recycling capabilities, bringing major benefits not only to our business, but also to UK recycling and to the environment as a whole.”