Major funding agreement signed on advanced plastics recycling plant in Scotland

Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham with Zero Waste Scotland’s Iain Gulland.

Funding of over £3m was announced on Wednesday 6 June for four projects comprising a new plastics recycling partnership, Project Beacon, in Perthshire, Scotland.

The initiative has the potential to recycle all plastics in Scotland and beyond – even those that currently can’t be recycled, according to Scottish Government-funded circular economy specialist Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS).

Project Beacon, says the group, is “lighting the way to a circular world of complete plastics recycling thanks to new technologies and an innovative integrated approach”, and is backed by £1.7m from ZWS’s Circular Economy Investment Fund (with around another £1.7m leveraged form the private sector) – supported by the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund.

Based at Binn Farm, in Perthshire, the new state-of-the art recycling centre brings together a group of cutting-edge recycling firms: PI Polymer Recycling along with Recycling Technologies Ltd and Impact Recycling Ltd, with Binn Group signed on as supply chain partners.

The system they’re developing seemingly uses new state-of-the-art separation systems to support mechanical recycling, fused with a game-changing chemical feedstock recycling process. This includes a patented process based on thermal cracking, which recycles end-of-life plastic waste that typically cannot be recycled using mechanical methods – for example, mixed, laminated, black, film and even contaminated plastic waste, as well as hard plastics. This new process produces a range of chemical constituents that can be used to create new virgin plastics, or other chemical products.

It’s intended that this first demonstration facility will be up and running later this year.

Visiting the facility, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham said:
“Initiatives like Project Beacon have the potential to be potentially ground-breaking as they are finding new uses and economic potential for hard-to-recycle plastics which could make a significant contribution to reducing waste and increase recycling.

“Project Beacon’s ethos and partnership approach supports our work to tackle Scotland’s throwaway culture which includes our commitment to a deposit return scheme and the recent appointment of an expert panel to look at single-use items.”

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:
“I am delighted not only that our financial support is helping create a potentially world-leading recycling facility here in Scotland, but that Zero Waste Scotland’s expertise has been instrumental in bringing it about. Project Beacon has the potential to transform plastics recycling in Scotland and beyond, and at a time when people are increasingly concerned about eh impact of plastics dumped in our environment, I’m excited to watch this circular economy business grow and develop.”

John Ferguson, Director, Pi Polymers said:
“Project Beacon is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate how technology and system innovation can form part of the complex range of solutions needed to address this global plastics crisis. This is an issue that affects us all and it is encouraging that these two small companies working together with Zero Waste Scotland have been able to demonstrate the potential of British innovation.”

“You can help solve the problem in the oceans by making waste plastic valuable on land,” said Adrian Griffiths, Chief Executive Officer of Recycling Technologies. “As part of Project Beacon, Recycling Technologies is delighted to be installing its first commercial RT7000 chemical recycling machine at Binn Farm to recycle plastic back to oil. By combining existing and innovative mechanical and chemical recycling technologies, Project Beacon boosts the local economy and enables household and large rigid plastics to be recycled instead of incinerated.”

The £18million Circular Economy Investment Fund, administered by Zero Waste Scotland, offers investment for SMEs based in Scotland and supports work that will deliver circular economy growth. It is supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.

To read a full case study about the work of Project Beacon, visit here: