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£165 Million UK Recycling Park Approved | Recycling Centre

Recycle Plant

The UK’s first dedicated recycling park has been given the go-ahead by Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee. The site, which will be located in Ellesmere Port, will cost an estimated £165 million and will include four recycling centres; these centres are expected to process approximately 370,000 tonnes of plastic every year.

This recycling park, which will also have an HGV hydrogen refuelling station, is predicted to create over 250 jobs – 147 direct jobs and a further 72 resulting jobs in the local area.

Recycling Technologies

This 24-acre site, which will be the first of its kind in the UK, will include a:

  • 5,886sqm material recycling facility (MRF) to sort and process approx. 75,000 tonnes of dry mixed recyclables from kerbside collections, commercial sites and waste management firms every year.
  • 9,361sqm plastics recycling facility (PRF) to separate and sort 200,000 tonnes of mixed waste plastics for onward recycling every year.
  • 17,545sqm PRF to recycle 90,000 tonnes of pre-sorted plastic waste into flake every year.
  • Polymer laminate recycling facility to recycle 2,500 tonnes of plastic aluminium laminate waste, such as from crisp packets and baby food pouches, every year. It will use microwave pyrolysis to separate the aluminium content from the high value oil content.
  • Hydrogen refuelling station for HGVs, with a capacity of dispensing 1,000kg of hydrogen per day – enough to refuel around 40 HGVs. The hydrogen gas will be delivered by a pipeline connected to a plastics to hydrogen facility.

Recycling Park

Once up and running, these new facilities will run 24 hours a day throughout the year and will each be operated independently. Though the plans were approved unanimously, and that the committee universally agreed the new recycling plants will be a crucial part of reaching the UK’s vision of a circular economy, one issue was raised.

Cllr Gina Lewis, a member of the committee, questioned whether there would be a cap placed on the amount of HGV activity to and from the recycling park every day. It was estimated that up to 173 HGV movements will occur on the site each day, and Ms. Lewis asked whether there was to be a cap on this activity.

Although the committee does not yet know who will be running the facilities at the new recycling park and therefore did not have a definitive answer to that question, the plans were still approved.

Recycling Plastics

The Director of Peel NRE (Natural Resources and Energy), part of Peel L&P, 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 Northwest. 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 Northwest circular economy that’s much more sustainable.”

As a UK and Ireland recycling company, the news of this new recycling park is music to our ears here at Let’s Recycle It. Since Brexit, exporting waste to recycling facilities in the EU has become a compliance and logistical nightmare, and the UK’s current domestic recycling industry simply does not have the capacity or the technology to deal with the amount of waste being produced. 

Plastics Recycling Centre

New facilities such as this one are exactly what the UK needs; when this site opens, the UK will be able to process hundreds of thousands more tonnes of the waste it used to export but is no longer able to. This recycling park will help to create a closed loop between manufacturing and recycling in the UK, while reducing the overall carbon footprint by no longer having to ship as much waste long distances overseas.

The ability to recycle 370,000 more tonnes of plastic waste here in the UK is a massive step in the right direction, but we are still a long way from where we should be. £165 million is just scratching the surface of the investment the UK needs in its recycling industry. If we are to achieve a fully circular economy, then we will need many more plastic recycling parks like this one to ensure we have capacity to process the many types of plastic waste being produced.

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