UK-based Alternative Waste Solutions (AWS) plans to upgrade its plant to enable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) water bottles and high density polyethylene (HDPE) milk bottles to be recycled into bottles and film suitable for food packaging. With this upgrade, it will become a key producer of food grade plastic from recycled material. Its facility at Hemswell, Lincolnshire will become Europe's largest recycling facility, reprocessing 100,000 tpa of plastic waste. 30-35% of the plastic waste will be converted into food grade plastic in 2009, and by 2010, food grade plastic will represent 70% of the recovered plastic output. The anticipated 2009 food grade output has already been pre-purchased by a perform bottle manufacturer who supplies the leading beverage companies in the UK.
The first food grade pellets will be ready by January 2009, following the plant's receipt of £8 mln of new equipment and the challenge testing process, which is required for the Fraunhofer Institute food grade compliance approval. The recycled plastic has to be cleaned of residues before it can be used in contact with food and drink. AWS intends to open further plants throughout the UK and in Europe.