Warrington-based European Metal Recycling (EMR) and Richmond, California-based MBA Polymers (MBA) have formed a joint venture company to build and operate a plastics recycling facility in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, that will focus on recovering plastics from shredder residue.
The new company is majority owned by MBA Polymers and will recover plastics from upgraded 'shredder residue'. This shredder residue is a complex plastics-rich mixture of materials that is available after the recycling of metals from cars, consumer electronic devices and appliances.
It is estimated that more than 15 million tons of plastics from just these sources are disposed of each year around the world. These plastics are commonly land-filled or incinerated at high economic and environmental costs because it is considered too complicated or expensive to recover and to separate them.
EMR will concentrate the plastics fraction of the shredder residue produced from its large-scale metal recycling operations and ship the material to the joint venture. This additional processing will also allow EMR to capture a higher percentage of the metals.
The joint venture will receive concentrated plastics-rich material from EMR’s facilities and will clean, sort and upgrade the plastics, and will then sell the high-quality plastics to MBA’s customers.
The 2003 End of Life Vehicle Regulations introduced recycling targets to decrease the amount of waste from scrapped vehicles: a minimum of 85 per cent by weight must now be recycled, rising to 95 per cent by 2015. With metal content at around 75 per cent and decreasing, this target can only be achieved by recycling more plastic.
The 2007 Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations have reinforced the importance of plastics recycling with the introduction of recycling targets for all items of WEEE, including large white goods and fridges.