Ministerial visit to the UK’s first shopping bag and plastic film recycling facility
- capacity to reprocess 20,000 tonnes per annum of used plastic bags
- production of plastic granulate for manufacture of new bags
- reduction of 30,000 tonnes per annum of CO2 emissions
- creation of 32 "Cleantech” jobs
The Board of PlasRecycle welcomed today Minister of State for Business and Energy, the Rt Hon. Michael Fallon MP, who was given a tour of PlasRecycle’s new recycling facility in Woolwich, South East London.
The new facility, which started operations in late 2013, uses a high tech proprietary process developed by PlasRecycle over the past four years, to reprocess up to 20,000 tonnes per annum of used shopping bags and plastic films. The plant produces a plastic granulate that can be used for making new bags, replacing virgin materials. For every tonne of plastic packaging that is reprocessed and recycled, there is a corresponding saving of 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
Duncan Grierson, PlasRecycle’s Founder and Chief Executive, said:
"We were delighted to welcome the Minister and show him around our new plant which is recycling used bags back into a high quality plastic pellet for reuse. We are pleased to be contributing to the country’s environmental targets set by the EU’s Waste Framework Directive and the Climate Change Bill. Scientific research by the Environment Agency has shown that regular polythene carrier bags have a much better carbon footprint than alternatives, such as paper bags and bio-degradable bags - our new plant helps to close the loop”.
Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon, who spoke to the assembled guests, said:
"The innovative technology being used by PlasRecycle shows that dealing with waste and recycling properly can create jobs and boost economic growth as well as being good for the environment. The Government’s industrial strategy is giving businesses all over the country the confidence to invest, and securing highly skilled jobs and a stronger economy – including here in Woolwich”.
Paul Levett, Chairman of PlasRecycle added:
"We are pleased that our initiative is not only creating green jobs in the UK, but can be a key part of producer responsibility programmes for the packaging and retail industries. With this new solution, Local Authorities can now actively ask their residents to put carrier bags and other films into their recycling boxes."
Other guests attending the visit included representatives from Foresight Group, the London Waste and Recycling Board ("LWARB”), the Greater London Authority ("GLA”) and Waste & Resources Action Plan ("WRAP”).
For further information, please contact:
PlasRecycle Duncan Grierson firstname.lastname@example.org
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills ("BIS”) Hannah Wallis email@example.com
Foresight Group Ben Thompson firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
PlasRecycle was founded in 2010 to develop novel technology solutions for the recycling of plastics. The UK recycling rate for plastic bottles has increased to around 50% with rapid growth since 2006. By contrast, little mixed plastic packaging such as bags and films is recycled. Along with the increases in Landfill Tax (increasing each year by £8 per tonne per year, to reach £80 per tonne in April 2014), there is now significant pressure to find local and sustainable outlets.
Life Cycle Analysis by the Environment Agency in 2011 confirmed that plastic shopping bags are actually much better for the environment than alternatives such as paper, cotton and degradable bags. One tonne of plastic recycled saves around 1.5 tonnes of carbon.
PlasRecycle is the first company in the UK to build a plant dedicated to recycling postconsumer bags and packaging films. Closed loop recycling of plastics is an important step for the planet as we aim for the optimal resource efficiency of a "Circular Economy”.
About Foresight Group
Foresight Group is a leading independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager which has been managing investment funds on behalf of institutions and retail clients for 30 years. Foresight has diversified activities and today manages institutional funds in Infrastructure, Environmental and UK small cap Private Equity.
Foresight has £1 billion assets under management spread across a number of funds, including Listed Vehicles, Limited Partnerships, Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs).
Foresight Environmental Fund (FEF), supported by the London Green Fund, which was launched by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in early 2011 and in part funded by the European Regional Development Board (ERDF) and the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), is a key part of London’s drive towards becoming a world leading low carbon city.
FEF is a £60 million fund, which directly supports this vision by financing waste management and recycling facilities which promote sustainable and carbon neutral economic growth. The fund’s investment programme has the potential to divert over 1.4 million tonnes of municipal, commercial and other waste from landfill each year, reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 1 million tonnes CO2e. The investment will also create hundreds of new jobs in London.
The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), chaired by Richard Tracey, Assembly Member, working in conjunction with the Mayor of London and London Councils, has a remit to improve waste management in the capital. For more information on LWARB please visit
Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has a vision of a world without waste, where resources are used sustainably. It works in partnership to help businesses, individuals and communities improve resource efficiency. Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. For more information about WRAP please visit