Closed Loop Recycling and Ecover have joined to take plastic collected from the seas around the UK and re-use as part of new packaging.
Trails are currently ongoing but it is hoped that the first product using the recycled and sorted material will be on the market in 2014.
The end material is a combination of rHDPE not sourced from the sea, Ecover's Plantastic and waste marine plastic, with the levels of each that make up the final product still under trial conditions.
Plantastic, from Ecover, is described as PolyEthylene (PE) - a green plastic that is 100% renewable, reusable and recyclable and made from sugarcane.
EU fishermen will collect the plastic and send to the UK for recycling but specific numbers were hard to define as it depended on how much was collected and brought in, said the firms.
Ecover is working with Closed Loop Recycling to develop the material because it is the only factory to recycle both polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and HDPE at its facility in Dagenham, England.
Ecover is a Belgium-based company that manufactures cleaning products in packaging made from plant-based and mineral ingredients.
However, the material has the potential to be used on food packaging as everything that comes out of Closed Loop Recycling’s process is food-grade material and HDPE is commonly used for milk bottles.
Chris Dow, Closed Loop Recycling CEO, said: “It’s great that a large producer such as Ecover is taking such a futuristic view on packaging, showing true commitment to designing on shelf product with recycling in mind.”
Collection to sorting
Using existing fishing trawls and new technology, Waste Free Oceans (WFO) will use Europe’s fishing community in cleaning up floating marine debris and bring it back to land for recycling and sorting.
Boats outfitted with a special trawl will be able to collect between 2-8 tonnes of waste (per trawl) for cleaning and recycling.
Closed Loop Recycling and Ecover are supporting the WFO initiative aiming to reduce floating marine debris on Europe’s coastlines, as well as sending an important anti-litter message to consumers,
The scheme is already backed by several MEPs including Danish MEP Anna Rosbach who is chairwoman of the WFO Foundation.
Philip Malmberg , Ecover’s chief executive, added: “As manufacturers we’ve got to take responsibility for sustainability very seriously – to take real action on climate change and the damage done by our over-reliance on fossil fuels, creating ‘green’ products that deliver more than a nod to sustainability.”