While reducing the use of plastic is the most important step for combatting the issue, recycling also plays a big part in this societal shift. In the past decade recycling rates in Britain have increased, supported by growing collections of food waste and a reduction in the frequency of refuse collections. Now a ground-breaking new recycling plant in Scotland is supporting individuals and businesses to go one step further.
Yes Recycling is currently constructing a new facility in Glenrothes, to specialise in dealing with hard-to-recycle soft plastics – including cellophane, bread wrappers and film lids – which would previously have been added to landfill, burned or exported for processing.
Financed in part with a loan from Triodos Bank, the new plant will be capable of processing 15,000 tonnes of soft plastic each year, giving the waste a new life by turning it into plastic flakes and pellets for manufacture, as well as a pioneering alternative to plywood, developed over the past 12 years, that can be used in construction.
Omer Kutluoglu, co-owner of Yes Recycling, explains: "This is a ground-breaking site which uses new patented plastic recycling technology. It is a blueprint for the future and will help to kick start the UK's plastics recycling industry. It will mean we can keep plastic in our own country's 'circular economy' and out of our seas and oceans."
Working to create a long-term partnership with Fife Council and its waste contractor Cireco Scotland, Yes Recycling is also developing a new scheme to make recycling easier for thousands of local residents. When the scheme launches Fife will become the first place in Scotland where people can put all of their plastic waste into the kerbside recycling bin. It will then be collected, sorted and taken for processing at the Yes Recycling facility.
The overall impact is more than just environmental, as the site has also created up to 60 new green jobs in the local economy.
The firm’s innovation has sparked interest from large companies keen to support the reduction of waste across their business. Nestlé, which is working on circularity for its packaging, was an early investor in Yes Recycling Fife and in November 2021 Morrison’s also invested, aiming to set itself apart as the first UK supermarket to co-own its own recycling operations.
“Yes Recycling is tackling one of the most pressing environmental issues we face,” says David Hawes, senior relationship manager at Triodos Bank UK. “We've long been aware of the problems around low-grade and hard-to-recycle plastic waste streams and have looked for opportunities to finance companies working in this area. It is great to lend to a company that is truly making headway in addressing these issues and converting problematic waste into a useful product that has environmental benefits of its own.
“This new facility is an important step forward for businesses and consumers alike, with a positive outcome for the planet.”
It is hoped that the Glenrothes facility will act as a pilot for soft-plastic recycling in the UK, which could be replicated and rolled out more widely, creating more and more impact as it grows.
About Yes Recycling
Yes Recycling Group designs, builds and operates systems to recycle a wide range of complex plastic waste-streams.
Yes Recycling Fife has garnered wide support. Zero Waste Scotland, Morrisons, Nestlé, Triodos Bank, Scottish Development International (SDI), Scottish Enterprise, Zero Waste Scotland, InvestFife, Fife Council, Business Gateway Fife, Ecosurety and Cireco Scotland LLP have all supported and in some cases funded its development, keen to enable its pioneering work.
Why we finance environmental technology projects
Financing environmental technology in important sectors like recycling and transport means investing in the future. Innovation is important because it makes positive change in the world happen, which leads to renewal and sustainable growth.