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Nampak “bottle-to-bottle” plant set to come on stream in 2008

Nampak Plastics says it is set to become the UK’s first true “closed loop” plastic packaging recycler with its announcement that it is to make a multi-million pound investment in a new reprocessing plant in the north-east of England.

One of the UK’s largest producers of HDPE plastic milk bottles, Nampak will use the output of the plant, the location of which is still being discussed, to boost its drive to produce 30% recycled content milk bottles by 2009. The facility should be operational late next year, producing 13,000 tonnes of food grade recycled HDPE annually. Nampak will produce the bottles using the reprocessing technology it helped to develop with WRAP, Dairy Crest, Marks & Spencer and Nextek; the collaboration led to the production of what Nampak claimed was the world’s first recycled content HDPE bottle (it currently has a 10% recyclate content), which is now stocked in M&S stores, and has won several packaging and environmental awards.

The HDPE will be supplied by waste management companies from domestic waste, with the reprocessed material used in Nampak’s own UK manufacturing operations to contribute towards the recycled content in its HDPE milk bottles. The company currently produces two billion bottles a year.

James Crick, Nampak business development director, says: “While all recycling has merit, closed loop recycling is arguably the ultimate; turning bottles back into bottles improves both sustainability and environmental performance.”

The latest news follows the announcement of a recent partnership between Nampak and reprocessor Closed Loop London to produce the UK’s first widely available recycled content plastic milk bottle from next Autumn. Crick continues: “By building our own plant, and working in partnership with other UK reprocesses, not only do we have the best chance of securing quality food grade recycled material for our bottles, we also help stimulate demand for more HDPE from the UK waste stream.”

Nampak says its current reprocessing system offers the potential to eventually incorporate up to 50% PCR in plastic bottles.