Government grant for coloured, rigid plastics recycling project / Process to turn plastic contaminants into high-value recyclate
The collaborative project "PolyMet" aims to turn coloured plastics into recyclate (Photo: Ecosurety)
The UK government has given GBP 800,000 (EUR 935,000) to a project that aims to create a commercially viable process for removing pigments from coloured rigid plastics waste such as black plastic food trays, allowing it to be recycled into new reusable feedstock.

Government agency Innovate UK is funding the “PolyMet” project, a collaboration between recycling compliance scheme Ecosurety (Bristol / UK;, Impact Solutions (Grangemouth / UK;, Impact Recycling (Grangemouth; and McLaren Plastics (Loanhead / UK; An aim of PolyMet is to steer coloured plastics back into the recycling supply chain and away from landfill.

Unlike clear or white plastics, many coloured plastics, especially black, are not detected by the optical sorting machines used at many recycling facilities. Consequently, such plastics have a lower market value and are often seen as contaminated materials, and landfilled or incinerated as a result.

Impact Solutions’ PolyMet technology uses a chemical process to remove the pigment from coloured rigid plastics without destroying the original polymers. After the pigment has been removed, the treated plastics become a material that can be reincorporated into the plastics manufacturing process as a high-value recyclate. The firm says the technology could enable a significant new stream of plastic feedstock to be created by reprocessors at high volume and low cost.

Ecosurety will give consultancy support to the two-year PolyMet project, offering advice from its producer and reprocessor members to ensure the technology is developed in line with industry requirements. Ecosurety CEO James Piper said, “The long-term objectives of Impact Solutions, namely to develop a technology that can add value to a plastic contaminant, fits perfectly with our broader vision of driving forward positive change through increased recycling capacity in the UK recycling sector.”
09.04.2019 [242182-0]
Published on 09.04.2019

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