Swindon firm leads the revolution on plastics waste

By Gill Harris on 19 October, 2018

Globally, we currently use about 335 million tonnes of plastic annually – and everybody who has seen David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II knows this is a problem.

Thankfully, Recycling Technologies in Swindon is dedicated to tackling that problem.

Marketing communications manager Bronwen Jameson spoke to The Business Exchange as part of the first ever national Green GB Week.

She said: “Plastic is a versatile and durable material that prolongs shelf life, makes healthcare safe and contributes to cutting down on food waste and carbon emissions. However, at the end of its life only 10% is recycled; the remaining 90% is buried or burnt or worse still lost, into our oceans and environment.

“The demand for plastic is expected to double in twenty years; and with it the problem of plastic waste. There is an urgent need to build capacity to recycle more to meet demand and to fill the gap created by Asian countries closing their doors to waste imports.”

Present recycling techniques are unable to recycle all plastics in an economic way so just focus on drinks bottles (PET) and milk containers (HDPE).

Founded in 2011, Recycling Technologies  has developed the RT7000 machine to recycle a broad range of waste plastics back into an oil, called Plaxx, which can be used as a feedstock in petrochemical processes to make new plastics and, in the case of the wax fraction, in wax manufacturing.

Bronwen explained: “Due to the nature of the Recycling Technologies’ process, the RT7000 can accept plastic waste commonly considered unrecyclable, such as films, crisp packets, food pouches or coloured plastics.”

The technology developed by the company grew out of research originally done in the University of Warwick in 2010. Seeing its potential Adrian Griffiths CEO, gathered some of the best engineering, R&D and management talents to develop a machine for sale to waste operators around the world.

The company’s approach is also commercially attractive. Waste companies in the UK are paying between £80 and £130 per tonne on the disposal of plastic waste to landfill and incineration. With an RT7000, the waste operators can turn this plastic waste liability into a valuable product, Plaxx, which has a value of around £300/tonne. This offers the operator a less than three-year payback on the purchase of an RT7000; an asset that will last 20 years.

There is a growing pipeline of waste operators interested in the RT7000, both in the UK and overseas. Planning permission has been given for the first commercial machine to be installed at Binn Eco Park waste sit in Perthshire, Scotland in 2019 and the sale of Plaxx from Recycling Technologies’ first 12 machines has been contracted for the first five years.

Each RT7000 converts 7000 tonnes of plastic into 5,250 tonnes of Plaxx oil. Recycling Technologies aims to install capacity to recycle 10 million tonnes of plastic by 2027, providing 7 million tonnes of Plaxx to the market to replace fossil oils.  Europe’s plastic recycling capacity is three million tonnes a year: reaching this goal would quadruple today’s recycling capacity of Europe within 10 years.

Pictured above: Recycling Technologies’ plant in Swindon