Biffa is latest recruit to Poseidon PET recycling initiative
20 Oct 2020
Leading waste management company Biffa has become the latest recruit to a new cross-industry initiative aiming to chemically recycle harder grades of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) material.
The Poseidon Project will involve key participants in the PET supply chain demonstrating how chemical recycling can be used to recycle certain grades of PET that are harder to recycle. Other parties involved include Poseidon Plastics, Dupont Teijin Films, Alpek, GRN and O’Neills.
Chief operating officer, resources & energy division Mick Davis commented: “We’re delighted to be involved in this transformational project which will hopefully demonstrate a sustainable way to recycle challenging grades of PET plastic.”
Due to start early in 2021, the project recently received £3.4 million of funding from UK Research and Innovation.
Earlier this year, Biffa opened the first stage of its state of the art £27.5 million rPET recycling facility in Seaham (see photo), capable of processing the equivalent of 1.3 billion plastic bottles each year.
At the Seaham site, Biffa will separate the difficult to recycle items such as coloured PET and trays and supply this feedstock for the project. At a new facility in the North East designed to demonstrate the chemical recycling process, Poseidon Plastics will use its chemical glycolysis technology to break down the PET waste, removing colours and other materials to produce the final product, called BHET.
This can then be transformed to produce a virgin plastic-like material capable of being recycled repeatedly and which can be used in plastic bottles, fibres and film applications.
Poseidon designed and trialled a 50-500kg plant which is being upscaled to a 15,000-tonne demonstrator plant, and Biffa will be providing the feedstock to this 15,000-tonne plant.
Added Davis: “The Poseidon Project has the potential to become a meaningful building block in expanding the UK’s recycling infrastructure, to create a more sustainable future.
“This is a great example of the circular economy in action with stakeholders from across the supply chain being involved.”