An unprecedented number of recycling-related stories hit the newswires this month, most of it of an unusually positive nature.
Alas, news was not so good from UK-based recycler Ecotech London, which entered administration after less than two years in business. Late last year the company said it was investing around $1 million in new equipment to raise capacity, but then shut its doors to incoming material in May 2016 as it attempted to restructure.
Just down the road from Ecotech London, the site vacated by Euro Closed Loop Recycling earlier this year has been purchased by recycling firm Veolia, with the recycler saying that it will unlock the complete supply chain for producing plastics bottles from recycled material.
The UK also has its first mixed plastics-to-extrusion HDPE and PP recycling plant after sensor-based sorting specialist, Tomra Sorting, linked up with Monoworld Recycling to establish a £9m ($11.6m) facility in Rushden. The plant was built by Italy’s Amut Group and in addition to post-consumer mixed plastics recycling, also has a wash-and-granulation line and the capacity to recover up to 100,000 tonnes of recyclates a year.
Meanwhile, while food brand Danone was busy inspiring school children to recycle more plastics bottles through a link up with Recoup and a Danone Nations Cup Football tournament, local authorities, waste treatment operators, private sector waste collectors and industry bodies were writing up the Food Waste Recycling Action Plan.
The action plan is designed to increase the quality and quantity of household and commercial food waste collected and recycled in the UK and has a five-point agenda to provide practical solutions to overcome the current barriers to food waste recycling.
In Canada, post-consumer plastics packaging recycling rates soared between 2013 and 2014, according to figures released by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA). This is despite general recycling rates across the country remaining flat.
Down south in the US, executive director of the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), Steve Alexander, has warned companies considering the use of plastics cans with metal lids to proceed with caution, claiming that they are contaminants in the PET recycling stream.
Congratulations go to Brothers Drinks this month, which picked up the 2016 FINAT end-user recycling award for its involvement in a PET liner recycling programme involving Avery Dennison and PET UK. Recycling of silicon-coated PET liners has only been achieved in Europe since Avery Dennison established its programme with PET UK.
Plastics film producer Barbier Group has linked up with Italian bioplastics firm Novamont, meanwhile, to develop a light-weight bioplastics bag for fruits and vegetables as an alternative to traditional non-biodegradable and non-compostable plastics packaging.
Recycling aside, there was not a significant amount of news on the mergers-and-acquisitions front this month, with Japanese films manufacturer Futamura headlining with its purchase of the Innovia Films cellulose business.
On the investment front, chemical producer Clariant doubled the production capacity of its Mexico water-based pigment preparations plant, which serves customers across North and South America, while South African converter Mondi Group has invested more than HUF13 billion ($46.9m) and created more than 220 jobs at its Békéscsaba plant in Hungary.
US-owned Agr International has also expanded in Italy with the opening of a sales, training and service facility in Montecchio, in response to increased business in the region, especially from North Africa and the Middle East.
Back in the UK’s north, the PFF Packaging Group opened a £1m ($1.3m) Innovation Centre at Washington to reduce the time taken for the design and production of bespoke food packaging solutions.
A novel hinged-lid plastics cap for the Nescafé range of coffee brands in the UK has a tendency to detach itself from the container, according to in-house research by Plastics in Packaging.
During trials in its UK office, two of the three ‘Click to Close lids’ used by staff on a daily basis detached themselves at the hinge within days of opening.
Nestlé UK responded by saying that the lid was tested vigorously during development and was found to be fine from a durability point of view.
A spokeswoman for AptarGroup, which supplies the lid, said: “When designing and developing the Nescafé click and close lid, we had to consider specifications from Nestlé regarding the colours to be used which generated extra production constraints.
“The lid looks exactly as required by Nestlé and shows exactly their required properties, although the hinge is not intended to resist a heavy daily usage. However, the fact that the ‘detached’ lid can still be closed easily was of course also taken into account.”