Solution To Ensure The Future Of Plastics Recycling Is “On The Table”

Closed Loop Recycling has said that it has been “overwhelmed” by the support across the supply chain for the UK plastic recycling industry, after announcing last week that the drop in oil prices may lead to the company going into administration. 

Closed Loop Recycling’s (CLR) Chris Dow said in a statement yesterday that WRAP has a “solution” on the table.

The British Plastics Federation has also warned the whole plastics supply chain that plastics processors are currently facing shortages of key materials. It says the problem is not just an issue in the UK, that it also affects France, Germany and Italy.

CLR, the UK’s largest recycler of plastic milk bottles, announced last week that without financial support from the industry or government, going into administration is “inevitable”, after the slump in global oil prices have forced clients to cut back on the amount of recycled plastic they purchase.

Closed Loop Recycling produces more than 80% of recycled plastic used in milk bottles in the UK. Prices that can be achieved for recycled material has fallen nearly 40% in the past nine months, due to a drop in global oil prices.

CLR says it would cost just 0.1p per two-pint plastic milk bottle to secure the future of the company, a cost that, according to a YouGov survey, 68% of adults supported. (See CIWM Journal Online story)

Commitment To Recycled Content

Resource Minister, Dan Rogerson, called an emergency meeting in order to reaffirm the voluntary agreements made along the plastics supply chain that have driven progress in collection and recycling of rHDPE plastic packaging, by ensuring minimum recycled content in plastic packaging, especially plastic milk bottles.

Closed Loop produces more than 80% of recycled plastic used in milk bottles in the UK
Closed Loop produces more than 80% of recycled plastic used in milk bottles in the UK

Dairy UK reaffirmed its commitment, saying: “(The industry is) keenly aware that the plastic recycling industry is facing difficult times and we have every intention to meet our targets…It is crucial that all sides of the supply chain work together with government to achieve these results.”

Echoing these sentiments, a spokesperson for Dairy Crest said that the company “remains committed to rHDPE” and will continue its involvement with the Dairy Roadmap.

A spokesperson for The Co-operative Food said: “We have no plans to move away from using recycled content in our milk bottles and we will continue to help in the progress towards the Dairy Roadmap targets for recycled content.”

This is a message that has been repeated by all the key stakeholders across the Dairy Roadmap, according to CLR’s Chris Dow.

“They have made their support public,” he said, “and WRAP now has a solution on the table to ensure the future of plastic recycling. The cost to secure the future of this industry is just 10th of a penny on a 2 pint bottle of milk.”

Separately, Friends of the Earth has launched a campaign of support with its members who want to see recycled milk bottle content in their plastic milk bottles.

Key Materials Shortage

The British Plastics Federation has warned the whole plastics supply chain that plastics processors are currently facing shortages of key materials.

The BPF’s Director-General Philip Law, speaking on behalf of the BPF’s large processor community, said that he was receiving an increasing volume of messages indicating that processors are being damaged through not being able to secure the polymer they need.

“There has been a spate of force-majeure declarations, he said, reminiscent of 2010. It certainly appears that some processors, of particularly LDPE, LLDPE and HDPE, are on allocation.

“This threatens their ability to fulfill contracts. It is important for their customers to recognise that they have genuine difficulties. This is not just a UK issue it certainly affects France, Germany and Italy.

“The prevalence of just in time delivery systems means rapid disruption to a supply chain if a plastics processor cannot deliver. Plastics materials are a prized national resource which should be nurtured and fostered.”


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