HDPE demand spurs $19.4 million expansion for U.K. firm

HDPE demand spurs $19.4 million expansion for U.K. firm

By Dan Leif, Plastics Recycling Update

Nov. 21, 2013

A fast-growing market for recycled HDPE within the U.K. dairy industry has led Closed Loop Recycling to push ahead with a significant facility expansion.

The company announced plans this week to invest $19.4 million in HDPE processing capabilities at its facility in the London suburb of Dagenham. In a press release, the firm indicated the move will bring its total processing capacity of both HDPE and PET to roughly 60,600 tons per year and will make the company the world's largest recycler of milk bottles.

Chris Dow, CEO of Closed Loop, told Plastics Recycling Update the expansion will specifically boost the plant's extrusion and washing output by around 15,400 tons per year.

HDPE recycling is a growing business in the U.K., thanks in large part to an initiative called Dairy Roundup, which has seen the milk industry work with the U.K. government to bring more environmental practices into the business. The dairy industry is aiming to have its plastic containers reach a 50 percent recycled content level by 2020, Dow said.

"Over the past five years we have worked closely with milk bottle manufacturers and their dairy company customers to support efforts to increase recycled content in milk bottle packaging," the CEO added. "We consider this partnership approach to have been a huge success and we see the future of recycling in maintaining and developing these strong partnerships across all parts of the food and drink industry."

In the press release announcing the expansion, Liz Goodwin, chief executive at U.K. recycling group WRAP, lauded the partnership between Closed Loop and the dairy sector: "Closed Loop Recycling's expansion in order to meet forecast demand for recycled content in milk bottle packaging is the perfect example of how businesses can work together to achieve the economic and environmental benefits of a circular economy."

Dow said new equipment is currently being installed, and he expects production to be underway in the first half of 2014. The company also announced it is leasing three acres adjacent to the Dagenham plant with an eye on future project development and investments.

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