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Leading label manufacturer calls for government backing on innovative recycling technology

PUBLISHED: 17:30 18 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:30 18 May 2018

MP Henry Bellingham watches sleeves for plastic bottles being printed at CCL Label at King's Lynn, with printer Steve Parnell, left, and process manager, Martin Seamons, centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

MP Henry Bellingham watches sleeves for plastic bottles being printed at CCL Label at King's Lynn, with printer Steve Parnell, left, and process manager, Martin Seamons, centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

The world’s biggest label printing manufacturer, based in Norfolk, hopes to lead the way in the plastics recycling industry.

MP Henry Bellingham, left, takes a look at the stack of printed sleeves for plastic bottles at CCL Label at King's Lynn, with Jason Mace, centre, manufacturing and health and safety manager, and Richard Foulsham, general manager. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMP Henry Bellingham, left, takes a look at the stack of printed sleeves for plastic bottles at CCL Label at King's Lynn, with Jason Mace, centre, manufacturing and health and safety manager, and Richard Foulsham, general manager. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

CCL Label, based in King’s Lynn, boasts more than 500 clients, printing sleeves for a multitude of brands including Coca Cola and Unilever.

Its factory in Rollesby Road employs around 130 staff and produces nearly 2bn labels a year, with exports making up 60pc of its business.

It now hopes to pave the way in the recycling industry by introducing intelligent labels with invisible markers to make it easier for recycling centres to sort and separate plastic packaging.

They have been working alongside plastics recycling consultancy Nextek on the Plastic Packaging Recycling using Intelligent Separation technologies for Materials (PRISM) project.

The sleeves for plastic bottles being printed at CCL Label at King's Lynn. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe sleeves for plastic bottles being printed at CCL Label at King's Lynn. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

PRISM aims to help manufacturers safely reuse recycled plastic bottles, which can be differentiated from plastic packaging containing dangerous chemicals.

The barcodes on the labels help to identify what type of plastic the bottle is used for - whether for food or chemicals - and they are separated in the recycling stream.

CCL Label bosses met with North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham to discuss how the project can become a reality at the King’s Lynn site.

Sales director Jon Cowan said it would take around nine to 12 months for PRISM to be fully implemented but it needed government backing to kick-start the project.

The sleeves for plastic bottles stacked and ready for customers at CCL Label at King's Lynn. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe sleeves for plastic bottles stacked and ready for customers at CCL Label at King's Lynn. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“There doesn’t seem to be any correct direction,” Mr Cowan added. “We want to explain what has already been done and what the next steps are.”

He said many of the labels CCL Labels manufacture are for the drinks industry, with clear plastic bottles holding the most value.

But he said clear plastic bottles containing colour labels are sometimes mistaken for chemical grade plastics at recycling sorting centres.

“We’re not trying to get economic advantage out of this, we want to get more bottles recycled,” he added.

MP Henry Bellingham, left, watches sleeves for plastic bottles being printed at CCL Label at King's Lynn, with process manager, Martin Seamons. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMP Henry Bellingham, left, watches sleeves for plastic bottles being printed at CCL Label at King's Lynn, with process manager, Martin Seamons. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Bellingham said he would relay the details from the meeting to Michael Gove, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs.

He added: “He would be very interested in this, it’s at the heart of his plastics campaign.

“It would be great for this company to be at the forefront of this scheme.”


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