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Fibre firm needs more PET waste

A West Yorkshire polyester fibre manufacturer is appealing to producers of recyclable PET packaging waste not to add to the thousands of tonnes already sent to UK landfill ever year.

Denholme-based Pennine Fibres produces some15,000 tonnes of its product annually for applications ranging from use in pillow, cushion and mattress fillers to fashion garments, automotive furnishings and decorative materials.

It strives to use recycled materials but, md Brian Scott explains, such is the shortage of UK PET source material that it must import much of its PET waste from abroad.

With the UK dumping over 200,000 tonnes of plastic bottles into landfill annually and manufacturers forced to pay to have PET waste removed, Pennine is desperate to buy “all forms of PET packaging waste”, from skeletal sheet, film and preforms to clean PET bottle flakes, from those who would otherwise discard it.

He says: “Sadly, due to lack of proper collection infrastructure and poor packaging chain co-ordination, middlemen ship much of the available raw material out to China. It then returns and undercuts UK manufacturers in the marketplace.” Compounding the availability problems, Scott says, is a lack of sufficient UK plastic bottle collection points.

He adds: “There may one day be an infrastructure to make having to import PET waste from overseas a thing of the past. However in the meantime there is a major opportunity for organisations in the UK to help eachother. All that is really required is for waste producers to contact waste consumers like Pennine.”

Scott worries, however, that no real structure exits capable of this “peer-to-peer exchange” – and appeals for anyone with constructive ideas to contact him.

Andrew Simmons, ceo of plastic bottle collection body Recoup adds: “Mr Scott is right. Only about 60% of UK local authorities currently collect PET bottles and the efficiency of many schemes needs improving. Evidence shows where councils implement good schemes consumers will put out plastic waste.”