Durham County Council has granted approval to national recycling and waste management company Biffa for a £15m plastics recycling plant in Seaham, UK.

The company will establish the new plastics recycling facility on a 130,000ft² vacant warehouse space at Foxcover Distribution Park. The facility is expected to double the company’s recycling capacity for plastic bottles.

Biffa is planning to begin construction of the facility mid-year and expects to start first commissioning trials in December.

Once operational, the facility is expected to recycle more than one billion plastic drinks bottles annually as well as process three million bottles into new food and drink packaging per day. It will create around 70 full-time jobs in the region.

Biffa resource, recovery and treatment managing director Mick Davis said: “The UK currently uses around 13.5 billion plastic bottles a year but can only process half of this, with the rest diverted to landfill or overseas.

“This new site represents an exciting opportunity to boost our recycling capacity here at home.”

“This new site represents an exciting opportunity to boost our recycling capacity here at home and supports the country’s long-term plan to find new ways to reuse plastics, as detailed in DEFRA’s recent Resource and Waste Strategy.

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“Our proposals for the Seaham plant were the result of months of careful consideration and we are keen to build on our already excellent reputation for recycling in the northeast.”

Biffa specialises in the waste management value chain such as collection, treatment, processing and disposal of waste and recyclable materials.

The company’s Redcar facility is capable of processing around 18,000t of recycled high-density polyethylene (rHDPE) annually, which is used to produce milk bottles and food trays.