IGE Solutions looks to plug plastic recycling gap left by China

Integrated Green Energy Solutions ASX IGE plastic recycling China
In 2016, China processed 7.3 million tons of plastic waste - half the world's recycled plastics. However is no longer accepting imported plastic waste into the country.

Sustainable business models built on recycled waste continue to show the true colours, not to mention the immense commercial potential currently pent up in recycling plants around the world.

Earlier today, Integrated Green Energy Solutions (ASX: IGE) announced it has signed its first contract to acquire a recycling site in the UK with a view of constructing a “waste plastic to road ready fuel facility,” in the coming years.

IGE Solutions has confirmed it has agreed to pay £3 million (A$5.45 million) for the 6.87-hectare, 200 tonnes per day (TPD) facility located in Grimsby in the UK’s northeast.

The purchase remains conditional on the site receiving planning and environmental approvals with IGE saying it expects to complete the deal before the end of November 2018.

According to IGE Solutions, the Grimsby site will be its flagship site in the UK, utilising its patented “waste plastics to fuel technology” and is planned to initially have a total annual output of over 70 million litres in road ready fuels at a margin of $0.30 per litre produced.

Replacing Chinese waste disposal

The venture comes hot on the heels of China’s ban on importing millions of tonnes of plastic waste earlier this year, with the policy change continuing to affect several nations that have traditionally looked to China to dispose of their domestic waste – specifically plastic packaging from the UK.

China’s ban is already adding to the build-up of waste at recycling plants around the UK, with industry analysts saying that the UK is struggling to cope with the additional influx of plastic since the start of the year when China’s ban came into effect.

In 2016, China processed 7.3 million tons of plastic waste, amounting to around half of the world’s recycled plastics. Currently, the UK ships around 65% of its used plastics to China for recycling (about 500,000 tons) each year. Since January however, this number has fallen to zero thereby creating a huge overload for UK-based recycling plants.

UK-based recycling firms have been forced to seek out alternative places of where to dispose of the country’s growing hoard of plastic waste with Malaysia and Vietnam cites as the prime candidates to fill the void left by China.

However, industry experts have warned these nations are not adequately equipped and do not have the capacity to make up for the “lost” Chinese market.

IGE Solutions thinks it could solve a large portion of the plastic build-up problem by developing a patented conversion process that transforms waste plastic destined for the already chock-a-block landfill sites into commercially valuable fuels.

The company believes that utilising its technology will inevitably reduce the amount of plastic entering the environment with China’s ban creating a crisis whereby “urgent action is needed” according to Simon Ellin, chief executive of the UK Recycling Association.

News of today’s planned acquisition and IGE Solution’s subsequent development plans helped IGE shares up to $0.53 per share, up around 13% in afternoon trade.

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