Looping-the-loop and closing the loop at Wales Airshow

A recycling initiative at last weekend’s Wales Airshow in Swansea gave the public the chance to separate their expanded polystyrene (EPS) trays and cups and PET bottles and do their bit for the environment.

A collaboration between UK-based plastics recycling charity Recoup, Dart Europe, Klöckner Pentaplast and Plastipak, the idea saw consumers invited to look for ‘Pledge2Recycle’ points at the event where they could dispose of their on-the-go post-consumer food and general waste.

Recoup sent food waste for composting while polystyrene, after being washed, was delivered to a manufacturer of moulded foams to be incorporated into thermal flooring blocks. All PET bottles collected were delivered to PET recycler Clean Tech to be converted into new beverage bottles.

Anne Sutton, regional manager at Dart Europe, thinks that a lot of recycling opportunities have opened up for EPS in recent times. “EPS can and is being recycled into products such as catering trays and thermal flooring blocks, locally in Wales,” she said.

Lubna Edwards, global sustainability director at Klöckner Pentaplast, added that EPS comes with many advantages such as strong environmental credentials and functionalities. “It is a great material that keeps food safe and fresh. By visitors helping to collect this valuable material we can retain this resource and recycle it into more beneficial products,” she said.

The Recoup team also encouraged the general public to volunteer and help Swansea Council to keep the beach and seafront clean from litter. Chief executive of Recoup, Stuart Foster believes that it served as a good example of a good partnership between the general public and producers of plastics to take more responsibility and become more aware of the need to recycle through the collection systems.

Over the event weekend, Recoup also ran an education roadshow explaining the plastics recycling journey and demonstrating items that can be made from recycled plastics.