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‘Potentially ground-breaking’ £3m recycling facility announced

Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham and Zero Waste Scotland chief executive Iain Gulland at Binn Farm, Perthshire

FUNDING of over £3 million has been announced for a new plastics recycling and sorting facility in Scotland.

Project Beacon, located at Binn Farm in Perthshire, comprises four projects and is being backed by £1.7 million funding from environmental organisation Zero Waste Scotland’s Circular Economy Investment Fund.

A further £1.7 million has been leveraged from the private sector and the project is being supported by the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund.

The recycling centre will see firms PI Polymer Recycling, Recycling Technologies and Impact Recycling working in partnership, with Binn Group acting as supply chain partners.

The system being developed for the site will see new separation systems implemented to support mechanical recycling, which will be combined with a “game-changing” feedstock recycling process, a statement from Zero Waste Scotland said. This will include a patented process based on thermal cracking, which recycles end-of-life plastic waste that typically cannot be recycled using mechanical methods.

This new process produces a range of chemical constituents that can be used to create new virgin plastics, Zero Waste Scotland claims.

Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, who recently visited the site, called the initiative “potentially ground-breaking”.

She said, “Project Beacon’s ethos and partnership approach supports our work to tackle Scotland’s throwaway culture which includes our commitment to a deposit return scheme and the recent appointment of an expert panel to look at single-use items.”

Ian Gulland, chief executive at Zero Waste Scotland, commented, “I am delighted not only that our financial support is helping create a potentially world-leading recycling facility here in Scotland, but that Zero Waste Scotland’s expertise has been instrumental in bringing it about.

“Project Beacon has the potential to transform plastics recycling in Scotland and beyond, and at a time when people are increasingly concerned about the impact of plastics dumped in our environment, I’m excited to watch this circular economy business grow and develop.”

John Ferguson, director at PI Polymers, said, “Project Beacon is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate how technology and system innovation can form part of the complex range of solutions needed to address this global plastics crisis. This is an issue that affects us all and it is encouraging that these two small companies working together with Zero Waste Scotland have been able to demonstrate the potential of British innovation.”

Adrian Griffiths, CEO of Recycling Technologies, added, “You can help solve the problem in the oceans by making waste plastic valuable on land. As part of Project Beacon, Recycling Technologies is delighted to be installing its first commercial RT7000 recycling machine at Binn Farm to recycle plastic back to oil.

“By combining existing and innovative mechanical and chemical recycling technologies, Project Beacon boosts the local economy and enables household and large rigid plastics to be recycled instead of incinerated.”

Zero Waste Scotland recently announced that plastic food packaging and food waste is costing Scotland £11 million a year, with over 64,000 tonnes being sent to landfill.

Ian Gulland said, “Plastic is a valuable resource, and one which can help generate additional income when recycled properly, yet we are throwing it away, adding to pollution in Scotland, and wasting public money that could have been invested in schools, parks or local facilities. There’s an enormous opportunity to turn single-use plastic bottles into a valuable resource if placed in the correct recycling bins.

“We have come so far with our recycling capabilities, so when it’s not possible to reduce or reuse plastic we ask everyone to put their used plastic bottles and food packing into the relevant recycling bin where they can. This simple step not only saves the environment, it saves council tax funds and generates money for your local authority area.”

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