How old plastic bags from a supermarket are being turned into oil

February 01 2020
How old plastic bags from a supermarket are being turned into oil

A PROJECT to turn plastic bags, cling film, sweet wrappers and pet food pouches collected at a supermarket into oil has had an "overwhelming response" from shoppers.

The Tesco Extra in Eastville was one of ten shops in the region where shoppers were invited to bring in the soft plastic waste, which is not recycled in kerbside collections.

Swindon firm Recycling Technologies will now turn the waste back into oil, so it can be used for new plastics, creating what’s called a ‘circular economy’.

The company has now collected enough material to start the pilot project and does not need any more plastic at present.

But Tesco will carry on collecting soft plastics for recycling, with a new partner to be announced later.

Tesco, which already collected plastic bags at some stores, announced the initiative last April, adding a variety of other plastics including crisp packets, soft drink pouches and yoghurt tubes to the list of items that could be recycled.


Huge sacks of soft plastic collected at Tesco stores are piled up

A Tesco Spokesperson said:“As part of our ambition for a closed loop packaging system, we carried out a trial with Recycling Technologies last year to collect soft plastic in ten of our stores in the Bristol and Swindon area. The response from our customers was overwhelmingly positive which is why we have decided to continue accepting soft plastics at these trial locations.”

Tesco says it is making plastic waste a priority, removing plastic packaging from the items it sells in store, and promising that all remaining packaging will be recyclable by 2025. At present, 83% of its packaging is recyclable.

The supermarket says it may work with Recycling Technologies again in the future.

Recycling Technologies has developed and patented a process to turn waste plastic back into a type of oil it calls Plaxx, which can be used in the manufacture of new plastic.

Chief executive Adrian Griffiths said: “The trials have highlighted how much demand there is for recycling soft plastic bags, films and laminated crisp packets and pouches.

"Tesco has taken a positive and important first step to show that technologies exist to recycle these valuable soft plastic materials.

"There is an opportunity to highlight these solutions to the waste management industry so that more urgently-needed recycling capacity is built to meet demand.”


Bags turned back into oil for use in creating new plastic

Recycling Technologies was impressed by the level of engagement from the public and said that only 2% of the waste collected was made from non-plastic materials, enabling the majority to be used for its scheme. It refers to the recycling of soft plastics as the ‘missing piece of the jigsaw’ for consumers.

Bristol area Tesco stores involved were the Lime Trees Road Superstore in Horfield, Brislington Extra, Metro in Staple Hill, Yate Extra and the Keynsham Superstore.