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Biffa signs multi-million pound bottle recycling deal

By Stephen Emerson
21 January 2022
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High Wycombe-based Biffa has agreed a partnership with one of the UK’s leading bottle manufacturers.

Esterform Packaging, the UK’s largest independent producer of plastic bottles for carbonated drinks and alcohol to squash and cooking oil, will use 6,000 tonnes of recycled plastic at its factories in Leeds and Worcestershire every year.

The recycled PET plastic used by Esterform is processed at Biffa’s Seaham facility in County Durham, one of the most advanced plastic recycling facilities in the world, capable of recycling more than two billion bottles a year.

Chris Hanlon, Biffa’s commercial director – polymers, said: "We’re delighted to be working alongside Esterform who share our passion for creating a ‘circular economy’, a system where materials are recycled for as long as possible.”

"We look forward to a long and successful partnership as we continue to work with them to grow the recycled content of their PET bottles.”

From this year, packaging producers in the UK will be required to use at least 30 per cent recycled plastic in their products to avoid the new plastic packaging tax.

Mark Tyne, managing director of Esterform, said: “Biffa’s recycled plastic is a great product, so we’re delighted to have secured this deal with them.

"PET is a very robust, flexible material that we use to produce containers that are light, resealable, safe and strong, and which can be recycled many times to make more new bottles in the future."

The deal with Esterform was signed after the plastic recycled at Biffa’s state-of-the-art plant in Seaham was given food-grade status by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

It also builds on Biffa’s existing capabilities in plastics recycling, including its plant in Redcar, Teesside, where HDPE plastic milk bottles are recycled back into food-grade HDPE, with 85 per cent of milk bottles sold in the UK now containing Biffa recycled plastics.

And at Biffa’s recycling plant in Washington, Sunderland, 70 tonnes of plastic are recycled every day, including polypropylene margarine tubs, detergent bottles and microwave food trays which are processed into flakes to be turned into anything from new garden furniture to drainpipes. The plant also recycles HDPE bottles.