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Greenstar WES has claimed it has become the world’s first commercial producer of food-grade recycled plastic.

The plastic is already being used to make millions of plastic milk-bottles and food containers for British supermarkets.

Marks and Spencer has approved Greenstar WES for the continuous supply of recycled plastic for its new organic-milk bottles.

These milk bottles are made with 10 per cent recycled food-grade plastic, known as r-HDPE.

Packaging manufacturer Nampak converts the r-HDPE flakes into new plastic bottles and Dairy Crest fills them with Marks and Spencer’s organic-milk range.

Nampak estimates it has made more than 21 million milk bottles so far, using flake from Greenstar and other suppliers.

Over the past few months, Greenstar WES has supplied nearly 500 tonnes of food-grade recycled plastic to packaging manufacturers such as Nampak, Sharp Interpack and Linpac Packaging and estimates it will supply 8,000 tonnes during 2009.

Greenstar WES’s recycled plastic is also being used for other food-packaging applications, such as the thermoforming of supermarket food trays.

Greenstar WES receives up to 2,000 tonnes of baled plastic each month, much of it sourced from domestic recyclables processed at Greenstar UK’s materials-recycling facilities, such as its site at Aldridge near Birmingham.

Nampak will ultimately take 6,000 tonnes of r-HDPE annually from Greenstar WES, using it to make plastic milk bottles with up to 30 per cent recycled content.

The company has been instrumental in helping drive the initiative to use food-grade recycled plastic for new packaging.

Greenstar WES’s r-HDPE is now a standard manufacturing ingredient at Sharp’s Bristol production site.

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