In an article published on July 16, 2018, the online news portal Packaging Europe informed about the new UK initiative to recycle “black plastic from household mixed waste recycling” (mainly trays made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET)) into new food grade packaging. The project is led by the Faerch Plast UK who “joined forces with three major retailers, Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, as well as recycling and waste management giant, Viridor.” The initiative is aligned with the goals of the UK Plastics Pact (FPF reported), “of which Faerch Plast was a founding signatory.”

Starting in July 2018, “120 tonnes of black plastic (8 million items)” will be recycled each month, and this volume will be “steadily increased over the next 18 months.” The workflow involves “adding black to the colored plastic stream already recycled.” The resulting flakes and pellets will be used by the Faerch Plast’s manufacturing facility in the “new packaging solutions.” The key to the project’s success is the “sustained demand for the recycled material and innovative packaging,” created by the retailers.

Andrew Osborne-Smith of the Faerch Plast UK & Ireland commented that “it has been rewarding to see the whole supply chain collaborating on this project to demonstrate that black PET trays are recyclable.” However, “there is more work to do to achieve high and sustainable levels of tray recycling with further investment in commercially viable waste collection systems and sorting and recycling facilities for PET pots, tubs and trays.”

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Packaging Europe (July 16, 2018). “A circular economy solution to black plastics.