The UK Government has awarded a four-way technology coalition an £800,000 grant through its Innovate UK scheme to head a research and development (R&D) project tackling black plastic waste.

The companies involved in the collaboration are recycling compliance scheme Ecosurety, plastic innovations specialist Impact Solutions, recycling specialist Impact Recycling and plastics injection moulder company McLaren Plastics.

The project will see the coalition develop a technique called PolyMet, which can remove the black pigment from plastic. Upon removal, the remaining plastic will be reincorporated as feedstock for recycled plastic packaging at a higher volume and lower cost.

Manufacturers can also add the remaining plastic to their virgin resin grades in order to reach the 30% recycled plastic target set by the government.

Impact Solutions innovation manager Tom Rose said: “As plastic technology specialists, finding a solution to the 3.5 million tonnes of plastic material currently being dumped in landfill by the UK each year was a challenge we couldn’t resist.

“This £800,000 Innovate grant is welcome recognition of the work we have undertaken so far and an endorsement of the positive impact that PolyMet could have for producers, reprocessors and on the environment.

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“We look forward to working with Ecosurety, Impact Recycling and McLaren Plastics over the next two years with the shared vision of creating a new technology that can transform the UK recycling market through increased capacity, revenue and jobs.”

Ecosurety CEO James Piper said: “The long-term objectives of Impact Solutions, to develop a technology that can add value to a plastic contaminant, fits perfectly with Ecosurety’s broader vision of driving forward positive change through increased recycling capacity in the UK recycling sector.

“We are delighted that the huge potential of this collaboration has been recognised by Innovate UK and look forward to working with Impact Solutions over the next two years.”

Eocsurety aims for PolyMet to become a low-cost technology, recycling all other coloured plastics and easily integrated into existing recycling facilities, which is expected to create more UK jobs and improve the nation’s black plastic waste and recycling sector.