Originally a scrap business, founder Jonathan Short spotted a gap in the market and began processing the large amounts of post-consumer plastics in the waste stream.
Today the company operates the worlds largest and most sophisticated recycling plant, capable of sorting 150,000 tonnes of mixed plastics per year incredibly, around 35 per cent of the total collected in the UK every year. Based in Lincolnshire, ECOs state-of-the-art plant employs 20 optical and infra-red sorters to produce 11 different streams of plastic, in a process that is virtually zero waste.
ECO Plastics achieved a significant milestone in March 2011, when it announced a ground-breaking partnership with Coca-Cola Enterprises to create its Continuum joint venture.
The 125m agreement is the first time that the recycling and beverage industries have committed to a long-term partnership, with used packaging returning to UK shelves within six weeks. In total, the facility had processed more than 500m bottles within a year of first opening its doors.
The deal has been a game changer for UK recycling. Where the industry has traditionally limited itself to buying and selling material on the spot market, Continuum has demonstrated the value of long-term partnerships.
Having invested more than 30m to quadruple its processing capacity and triple the plant footprint, ECO Plastics is leading a campaign to move the wider industry to similar long-term contracts.
ECO Plastics turnover increased from 18.5m in 2010 to 47m in 2013. Its a trailblazer in the development of a truly sustainable 360-degree domestic and international waste market.