Green light for UK’s first £165m plastic park at Protos

WCN Editorial Team 7 Jul 2022 EUROPE BUILDINGS

Cheshire West and Chester Council has given green light to the £165m park to be developed at Protos, a strategic energy and resource hub near Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, UK.

This approval will see the development of the UK’s first plastic park.

Peel NRE, a part of Peel L&P, is behind the blueprint of this park.

The park will feature processing and treatment technologies to process up to 367,500 tonnes of mixed recyclables and plastic annually.

Peel NRE development director Richard Barker said: “It’s great to get unanimous backing for the Plastic Park – a UK first that will underpin the circular economy in the North West.

“It’s imperative we deliver creative solutions to the UK’s plastic problem. This project clusters recycling technologies in one place so that we can make the most of a whole range of plastic materials arriving on site, avoiding the need to ship them to different facilities around the region.

“It’ll mean we can cut down on vehicle movements, create 147 new jobs and deliver essential infrastructure to underpin a North West circular economy that’s much more sustainable.

The approved application features materials recycling facility (MRF), plastics recycling facility one (PRF1), plastics recycling facility two (PRF2), polymer laminate recycling facility and hydrogen refueling station.

The MRF will separate out dry mixed recyclable materials (such as glass, paper, cans and cards, into different waste streams to be sent for recycling.

At PRF1, plastic from the MRF and mixed plastics will be separated into different plastic types. This separated plastic will either be sent to PRF2 or to the PET recycling plant that has been already approved at Protos.

At PRF2, the pre-sorted plastic from PRF1 will be washed and processed into flaked plastic so that it can be used to make new plastic products, such as food packaging or drinks bottles.

The polymer laminate recycling facility will see plastics such as crisp packets and baby food pouches being heated to break them down into oil for reuse in manufacturing new products with aluminum recovered for recycling.

Hydrogen would be supplied to the refuelling station through a pipeline running from the plastic to hydrogen facility or via tanker. This station would have a capacity to dispense up to 1000kg of hydrogen per day to vehicles, enough to fuel around 20 HGVs from outside Protos and a similar number for internal HGV movements servicing operations within Protos.

The UK produces around 4.9 million tonnes of plastic waste annually.

Besides cutting down the requirement for virgin plastic, the facilities will help save CO2 as against other treatment routes deployed currently.

Peel NRE now intends to work with potential operators to bring forward construction on site.
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Image: The UK produces around 4.9 million tonnes of plastic waste annually. Credit: Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay.

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