Hemswell’s got a lot of bottle...

ALL EYES were focused on Hemswell near Gainsborough as the world’s largest plastic recycling plant was officially opened.

Continuum Recycling is a joint venture between Coca-Cola Enterprises and local company ECO Plastics.

The £15 million facility will transform recycling, more than doubling the amount of bottle-grade recycled plastic created in the UK.

Coca-Cola Enterprises aims to use 25 per cent recycled plastic in all its bottles by the end of 2012.

And Continuum Recycling will help the soft drinks giant in its pledge to recycle every used plastic bottle at the London Olympics 2012.

The facility was opened by Environment Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach and attended by VIP guests who toured behind the scenes.

Lord Taylor said he wanted to see more ‘innovation and investment’ like this project across the country.

“Recycling is a growing industry, and investment in these types of projects not only makes good business sense – it will help us achieve our ultimate aim of a zero-waste green economy,” he said.

Continuum Recycling is the first time drinks and recycling industries have teamed up, and will provide Coca-Cola Enterprises with high-quality bottle-grade plastic for at least ten years.

It will save around 33,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year - equivalent to taking 15,715 cars off the road.

The partnership has also created 30 new skilled jobs for local people. And schools can learn more about recycling on visits to the on-site education centre.

Jonathan Short, managing director of ECO Plastics, said: “Today is a great day for ECO Plastics and a great day for UK recycling generally.”

“It demonstrates the huge potential of working with global leaders like Coca-Cola Enterprises, as well as the strategic value of long-term partnerships.”

“Together they have provided us with confidence to invest in the next-generation technology which will be crucial to our industry’s future.”

Gainsborough MP Edward Leigh said: “To be sitting in a remote part of Lincolnshire opening the biggest plastic bottle recycling facility in the world is really something.”

“It shows we can keep creating new industries and I think what ECO Plastics has done is quite exciting. They have really put this area on the map.”