Nestlé UK and Ireland partners with Scottish Recycler to tackle flexible packaging

Nestlé UK and Ireland has partnered with a new recycling firm, Yes Recycling, in Fife, Scotland to process hard-to-recycle plastics.

The multi-million pound plastic recycling plant in Fife will turn flexible plastics, typically used in food packaging, into building materials.

Nestlé, Yes Recycling’s first investor, has provided a pre-investment of £1.65 million towards the site, which, when it opens, will have the capability to take 15 000 tonnes of this plastic, and produce an alternative to plywood to be used in construction, retail spaces and the agriculture industry.

Packaging, such as KitKat wrappers, Purina pet food pouches, Rowntree confectionery sharing bags and Nestlé Cereal bags will be taken from kerbside material collected by Dunfermline-based Cireco, as well as some commercial streams. In the past this material may not have been recycled, as a recycling facility was not available to process this type of waste at scale locally.

The packaging is then transported to the Yes Recycling plant where it is washed and sorted, then broken down and turned into pellets. Finally, these pellets are compressed to form the new plastic sheet, called Ecosheet, which can be used and eventually recycled again.

The pre-investment has been managed by Ecosurety on behalf of Nestlé through the forward sale of Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) that will be supplied to Nestlé when the plastic recycling plant is in operation. The innovative approach to provide a pre-investment through PRNs, has enabled Yes Recycling to invest in this new flexible plastic recycling facility in the UK.

This is the first time in the UK these types of flexible plastic, gathered from kerbside collections, will be recycled at scale, with the plant set to fully open by the end of 2021.

Group Packaging Manager at Nestlé UK and Ireland, Alison Bramfitt, said: “It is really exciting to be partnering with Yes Recycling and helping fund this new plant in Fife. We are working hard at Nestlé to create circularity for our packaging so it can have multiple lives and uses and doesn’t end up as waste in landfill. Being able to partner with pioneering technology such as this is just one of the ways we are taking steps forward on this journey.”

“We have committed to make 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 and to reduce our use of virgin plastics by one-third in the same period. It is fantastic to see our packaging given a second life into something useful, and we are looking at many partnerships to help encourage the recycling infrastructure in the UK.”

“Earlier this year we announced collaborations with other manufactures to create the Flexible Plastic Fund and the Flexible Packaging Consortium, as we know working together and creating partnerships can have the most impact on our planet,” said Bramfitt.

Omer Kutluoglu, Owner of Yes Recycling, said: “Without the significant financial support of Nestlé, our ground-breaking plant for hard to recycle materials could never have come to fruition. Supporting domestic recycling and developing innovative solutions for complex plastics is a necessity for the environment and the economy.”

“Yes Recycling recognises the work that Nestlé is doing to reduce packaging and create recyclable alternatives. Packaging presented as difficult to recycle will be recycled through our new facility in Fife. The project enables change for the better and Nestlé are at the forefront of facilitating these changes.”

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