Plastic reprocessing business, Bright Green Plastics, which recycles over 40,000 tonnes of household and commercial waste each year, has invested £750,000 in developing a plastics sorting plant.

It will be fully operational by the end of July 2020.

The plant, installed at the company’s Castleford site, will enable the firm to take bales of mixed plastics and 3D materials, collected from the kerbside, and sort them by polymer type, colour and even sift out metals, paper and other residual waste.

And it will help to keep more plastic out of landfill, incinerators and the ocean.

The investment covers purchase of the plant, civil engineering and installation costs. It will allow Bright Green Plastics to buy material from the wider market and eliminate reliance on purchasing pre-sorted bales from other processors.

Not only will this bring commercial benefits to the business, but it will increase its supply of sorted materials to feed into the recycling process.

In turn this will create extra capacity by increasing yield and cutting non target materials.

Steve Spencer, managing director, said: “The investment will reduce the core costs within our business.

“However, we are also excited by the fact it will create more jobs, whilst boosting the UK plastic reprocessing industry by creating more recycling capacity.”

The plant was originally planned to open in January 2020, but this was forced to be put on hold due to the pandemic. However, it is now up-and-running.

Spencer added: “The plant is likely to discourage exporting of mixed materials due to this new UK-based processing capacity to sort the plastics into single stream polymers prior to recycling.”

The facility uses state-of-the-art, infrared technology to sort materials. It is managed by Craig Davison, who said: “We’re set to play a key role in increasing the UK’s recycling capacity.

“Getting to work with the very latest technology to keep perfectly good, recyclable plastic in the UK is a huge step in the right direction for our industry after what’s been an extremely challenging time.”

The Castleford plant is phase one of Bright Green Plastic’s long-term investment plan, which will see the business further upgrade equipment to keep up with demand for recycling.

This is in line with the introduction of the UK plastic tax in 2022. It will be compulsory for all UK manufacturers and producers to incorporate at least 30% of recycling plastic material into plastic packaging, to avoid being hit with a large tax bill.