Europe's biggest polyethylene film producer British Polythene Industries plc is doubling capacity at its agricultural plastics recycling plant in Dumfries, Scotland, ahead of new British government farm waste controls.
BPI of Greenock, Scotland, has invested £2 million ($3.7 million) to install a second wash plant at the Dumfries facility to take its capacity to 66 billion pounds per year. The new facility is due to be commissioned in June.
This investment comes in response to growing pressure from U.K. farmers for outlets to recycle their waste plastic. The project was prompted by news that Britain's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will introduce the new farm waste controls this year.
BPI, also Europe's largest PE film recycler, is considering similar spending to increase volumes at its other recycling plants in South Wales and in the Irish Republic, said Andrew Green, managing director of BPI Recycled Products.
``This is the first phase of our plans substantially to increase both the volume and types of waste farm plastic we recycle,'' Green said. Overall, BPI has the capacity to recycle 128 million pounds of polyethylene annually.
BPI is a leading European producer of agricultural and horticultural plastic films, which it sells worldwide.
The Dumfries plant was launched in 1995 as part of a voluntary industry scheme, set up by major farm film producers and suppliers in the United Kingdom. The Farm Film Producers' Group ran the levy-based scheme in which an ``environmental protection contribution'' of £100 ($150) per metric ton was applied to the sale of silage wrap to fund its eventual recycling.
In its first year, the scheme collected nearly 9 million pounds of plastic farm waste from 5,000 farms. A year later the voluntary arrangement collapsed when two importers refused to pay the levy.
Since then, the Scottish plant has recycled mainly foreign agricultural waste plastic.
Dumfries recycles mainly silage wrap and sheet but can handle mulch films, tunnel greenhouse film, tree guards, and animal feed sacks. The resulting material is made into BPI's Plaswood-brand wood-substitute products.