Even though its first plant to recycle bottles into pellets and flakes for food containers won't start operating until June, Closed Loop Recycling said it has plans to build a second plant in the United Kingdom.
Closed Loop has secured venture capital financing for a second plant slated to start up in 2009, according to Managing Director Chris Dow. The site for that plant has not been determined. A £12 million ($24 million) plant already under construction in Dagenham, near the firm's London headquarters, will open in June at full capacity, Dow said in a March 19 e-mail.
``Our plans for a second plant are for [it to have] a similar footprint to plant one,'' he said. Each plant will recycle roughly 15 million pounds of high density polyethylene annually into pellets for milk bottles and another 55 million pounds of PET into pellets and flakes for bottles, trays and bowls for food.
``Ideally, we want to build five plants in the next five years. But I am unsure that we will have supply in the UK to satisfy five plants. I could easily imagine three,'' Dow said.
Edward Kosior, Closed Loop's technical director, said long-term demand could require as many as 25 plants with 25 million pounds of capacity apiece to turn recycled HDPE containers into food-grade HDPE resins.
``It satisfies the dairy's desire to continue to improve its environmental footprint, the blow molding industry's need to survive and the recycler's demand for more material,'' he said. ``It is a brand-new industry not exploited yet.''
The HDPE-to-HDPE process and technology to produce food-grade resins meets U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines for use in food-contact applications, he said.
Closed Loop has the exclusive UK license to use PET washing technology from United Resource Recovery Corp. of Spartanburg, S.C. For HDPE, Closed Loop will use Vacurema vacuum sorting technology from Erema Engineering Recycling Maschinen und Anlagen GmbH, and a wash system from B+B Anlagenbau GmbH.
Closed Loop will get its recycled containers and bottles from Veolia Environmental Services plc, one of the largest waste haulers in the United Kingdom. In addition, retailer Marks & Spencer plc has committed to sending plastic waste from its stores to Closed Loop.
Container maker Nampak Plastics Europe Ltd. of Newport Pagnell, England, has agreed to buy recycled HDPE from Closed Loop to make food-grade bottles that initially will have 10 percent recycled content. Nampak expects to make food-grade bottles with 30 percent recycled content by 2009 and plans to open its own HDPE-to-HDPE recycling plant next year.
Nampak also will buy recycled HDPE from Greenstar WES Group in Wilton, England, which is installing Vacurema cleaning equipment to produce HDPE-to-HDPE food-grade flake, with an annual capacity of 26 million pounds, at its Redcar, England, plant.
WES Group will get its supply of recycled HDPE containers from waste management firm Greenstar Group, its parent company.
Kosior also is managing director of Nextek Pty. Ltd. of Sydney, Australia - a 4-year-old firm that he founded to find technical solutions to environmental and recycling challenges facing plastics.