Norfolk company leads the way in carrier bag recycling

Millions of plastic carrier bags are being saved from landfill through a partnership between two East Anglian firms.

Polyprint Mailing Films, of Rackheath, near Norwich, has developed a process with a Suffolk company that allows bio-degradable plastic film to be recycled alongside non-degradable plastics.

Until now, it has not been possible to recycle oxodegradable film – such as Tesco carrier bags – alongside ordinary plastic film, because the additive used to make them degrade contaminated the whole batch.

With many more plastics now being made oxodegradable, the move means that millions of bags can now be recycled, saving on raw materials and the energy required to make new plastic film.

The mixed loads will be used to make plastic refuse sacks.

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Polyprint, which has 60 employees turned over �7.7m in 2009, printing plastic mailing bags for magazines and catalogues as well as plastic food packaging for products including potatoes, carrots and salad for major supermarkets.

The company now recycles 84pc of its own waste, and also accepts large amounts of waste from individuals and companies around the UK, receiving on average seven large boxes and three sacks each day through the post.

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'We have always advocated recycling as the best form of waste management,' said managing director Jonathan Neville.

'It is the most efficient use of resources, and most plastics are ideal materials for recycling to save on raw materials.

'However, consumer pressure in recent years has veered more towards degradable plastics, which up until now we haven't been able to send for recycling mixed with non-degradable plastics, which we have been recycling for many years.

'With an increasing amount of this material being manufactured, we thought it was important to try and devise a way of recycling it, rather than it simply being dumped into landfill to rot away.'

The company has been working with Broadland District Council and now has two polythene recycling bins for use by the public outside its factory on Mackintosh Road, Rackheath Industrial Estate.

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