Working together with industry partners to drive out waste, the UK is inching closer to getting more eco-friendly and slash carbon emissions on the road to net zero, slowly yet steadily. Plans for the UK’s first £165 million Plastic Park – designed to tackle a share of the UK’s 4.9 million tonnes of annual plastic waste – have moved a step closer.
Peel NRE, part of Peel L&P, has submitted a planning application for the Plastic Park to be developed at Protos, the company’s strategic energy and resource hub near Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. It will cluster together innovative processing and treatment technologies to get the most value from plastic waste.
Two facilities at the Plastic Park have already received planning consent – the UK’s first waste plastic to hydrogen facility using pioneering Powerhouse Energy technology and a PET (polyethylene terephthalate) recycling plant that will take food and beverage packaging, such as plastic bottles, and recycle them for use in making new packaging products.
Peel NRE is now seeking planning approval for a number of further facilities which would provide capacity for up to 367,500 tonnes of mixed recyclables and plastic and create 147 new jobs.
The application follows a public consultation where nearly 300 local people took part. An overwhelming majority of respondents agreed that more plastic recycling facilities are needed in the UK.
New approach to plastic waste
Richard Barker, Development Director at Peel NRE, part of Peel L&P, said: “As our pre-application consultation showed, the issue of plastic waste is high up the agenda. By clustering various treatment technologies together in one place, we can maximise the amount of plastic that can be recycled and create a circular economy in the North West. Over time, the flow of materials between the different facilities means vehicle movements will reduce and we will use any plastic that can’t be recycled to create hydrogen which can be used as a clean fuel for HGV’s, buses and cars.”
“This will not only create 147 jobs and address the urgent need to tackle plastic waste, it’ll also deliver significant carbon savings, helping the North West reach its ambition to be the first net zero region in the UK.”
It comes as the UK prepares to host the global climate summit, COP26, in Glasgow this November. Peel NRE’s innovative Plastic Park would contribute significantly to the North West of England becoming carbon neutral by 2040. As well as reducing the need for virgin plastic, the facilities would save over 190,000 tonnes of CO2 every year when compared to landfill.
Recycle 367,500 tonnes of plastic
The latest planning application features:
- A Materials Recycling Facility (MRF): which will separate out dry mixed recyclable materials (such as glass, paper, cans and card) into different waste streams and send them for recycling.
- Plastics Recycling Facility One (PRF1): plastic from the MRF and mixed plastics arriving pre-sorted to the site will be separated into different plastic types. The separated plastic will either go to PRF2 or the PET recycling plant already consented at Protos.
- Plastics Recycling Facility Two (PRF2): pre-sorted plastic from PRF1 will be washed and processed into flaked plastic which can be used to make new plastic products, such as food packaging or drinks bottles.
- Polymer Laminate Recycling Facility: plastic (such as crisp packets and baby food pouches) will be heated, the plastic will break down into an oil for reuse in manufacturing new products with the aluminum recovered for recycling.
- Hydrogen refueling station: taking hydrogen from the consented plastic to hydrogen facility to supply up to 1000kg of hydrogen per day to vehicles, sufficient to fuel approximately 20 HGVs from outside Protos and a similar number of internal HGV movements that will be servicing operations within Protos.
The application will now be considered by Cheshire West and Chester Council with a decision expected in early 2022.