A state-of-the-art facility to allow the recycling of flexible plastics is to open in Glenrothes, Fife.
The company behind the project, Yes Recycling, writes:
As an experienced recycler, we specialise in hard-to-recycle plastics, including banknotes, hard hats, printed packaging film, and post-industrial and construction waste streams.
Our multiple million-pound investments have enabled us to create a state-of-the-art patented recycling technology.
The plant will open in late October and will recycle 15,000 tonnes per annum of low-grade post-consumer plastic. The plastic will then be processed into pellets and flake, with residual waste utilised to develop a new generation of high-strength Ecosheet, an alternative to plywood.
“Unlike other products, Ecosheet is created using mixed polymers, utilising what other manufacturers throw away,” said Omer Kutluoglu, co-founder and director of Yes Recycling.
The firm says it has been collaborating with a number of groups on the project, including Scottish Development International (SDI), Scottish Enterprise, Zero Waste Scotland, InvestFife, Business Gateway Fife, Ecosurety and Dunfermline-based Cireco.
Scottish government-funded advisory group Zero Waste Scotland has supported the project with an investment of £520,000 from the Circular Economy Investment Fund, which it administers and which also receives funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the Scottish Government.
Andrew Dickson, Business Investment manager at Zero Waste Scotland, said the new facility “is an excellent illustration of the supply chain collaborating and how the Circular Economy Investment Fund works.”
“The fund exists to support innovative projects and businesses and in this case helps Yes Recycling to manufacture reusable products that maximise the value from goods we already have in circulation while at the same time generating economic growth and creating jobs.
Robin Baird, Chief Operating Officer for Cireco (Scotland) said his group were “delighted” to have been chosen by Yes recycling to deliver the project. “Yes and Cireco has shared values in ensuring that previously hard to recycle plastics can now become valuable resources and help support Scotland’s circular economy delivery.”
Ecosurety CEO Will Ghali said his group was “delighted” to be partnering with Yes Recycling on the project to build new recycling capacity in the UK. “This is a much needed new capacity that will allow the Recycling of flexible plastics, which have not been widely recycled until now. We are very excited to be able to support this new venture to get flexible plastics recycled here in the UK.”
Omer Kutluoglu of Yes Recycling said the new factory would create up to 60 jobs, and that recruitment commenced in August 2021, with the project presenting requirements to fill a wide range of roles, including office management and facility floor.
“As a business, opportunities are limitless for the recycling industry in Scotland,” he said, adding that “investment in change is evident across Scotland, and for us, Fife is the ideal location for our first plant of this kind and the production of Ecosheet.”
Ecosheet has evolved since the prototype over ten years ago, says the firm. Since its original launch, it has been improved in various ways, and the processing of Flexi plastics and Ecosheet has evolved.
David Hawes, senior relationship manager at Triodos Bank UK, added:
“As a bank that focuses on lending for positive environmental change, we’ve long been aware of the problems around low-grade and hard-to-recycle plastic waste streams and have looked for opportunities to finance companies working in this area. It is great to lend to Yes Recycling, which we believe are truly making headway in addressing these issues and converting problematic waste into a useful product that has environmental benefits of its own. We believe this new facility is an important step forward for businesses and consumers alike.”
A new funding stream for local authorities?
Kutluoglu said: “Flexi plastics will always be a controversial material,” adding that “as a business we are focused on educating others on the positives of this resource.”
“Using Ecosheet and following the guidelines for use will reduce environmental impact for the industry, enabling those in construction to dramatically improve their recycling rates due to Ecosheet having complete recyclable end-of-life properties. ”
Yes Recycling said they hoped other councils and regions will be encouraged by the steps taken.
The group said: “Changing collection procedures to enable kerbside collection of Flexi plastics and the development of new sorting processes will allow local authorities to create a new funding stream and a solution to flexible plastics. Yes, Recycling is creating opportunities for other factories and new ways of tackling the ever-changing plastic tax, by creating a way to include recyclable content and improve recycling rates.”