Hundreds of jobs could be created if plans for a new plastics recycling plant get the go-ahead in Sunderland.
Norwegian recycling specialist Quantafuel has announced plans to expand its operations into the UK with a series of processing plants that would create high value products from low value plastic waste.
The first of its UK plants is planned for Port of Sunderland, which, subject to planning approval, could be up and running in a few years.
Quantafuel has submitted a preliminary planning application this week and is in advanced talks with Port of Sunderland and Sunderland City Council about the proposal.
Quantafuel transforms plastic waste into sustainable products that are in high demand and contributes to solving the global plastic waste problem.
“I’m pleased to announce Quantafuel’s expansion into circular plastics in the UK,” said Quantafuel’s interim CEO Terje Eiken.
“This is an important step because we see strong potential in the UK market. By upgrading used plastic waste into valuable products, we will contribute towards the circular economy and help to improve the UK’s plastic recycling rates.
“We’ve identified an excellent site in Sunderland and are grateful for the positive welcome from the port and the city council. We look forward to pushing circular plastics in the UK.”
First UK site planned for Sunderland
Quantafuel has chosen a prime 12-acre (approximately 50,000 m2) site on the eastern edge of the port due to its close proximity to shipping berths, transport links, and presence of local skilled workforce.
The plant will be designed to process more than 100,000 tonnes of plastic per year and could create hundreds of jobs during construction and provide business for local suppliers. It will also create around 50 jobs once operational. Plastic waste from across the north of England will be processed at the facility.
Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council and Chair of Port of Sunderland, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Port of Sunderland has been chosen as the preferred location for Quantafuel’s first UK operation.
“Sunderland is a city transforming, and investments like this, allied with other significant developments in the city centre, Washington and the Coalfields, give an increasing confidence in the economic future of our city.
“There has been a concerted drive to stimulate investment in the city in general and the port in particular, with a huge programme of infrastructure works carried out to make parts of the estate shovel-ready. Quantafuel’s decision to locate to Sunderland vindicates this work and is testament to the ambition of Port of Sunderland and the city council as its municipal owner.”
A circular economy
A frontrunner in the industry, Quantafuel recycles plastic waste by breaking it down chemically to produce oil that can be used in the production of virgin-grade recycled plastic.
Chemical recycling of plastics replaces products from crude oil, helping more countries to reach their plastic recycling goals, making the entire value chain circular.
Quantafuel UK’s plants will process mixed post-consumer plastics that are currently not recycled, such as soft food packaging and a variety of domestic and industrial plastics. Today this plastic is often sent to landfill or incinerated in energy-from-waste plants.
Other additional sites are also being considered by Quantafuel UK Ltd, which could lead to job creation, both during the construction and operation of the facilities.
Quantafuel has created a new UK-based company, Quantafuel Sunderland Limited, which is a 50:50 joint venture between Quantafuel ASA and Midas Group AS, founded by Frank Ystenes. Quantafuel UK Ltd is also a 50:50 joint venture between Quantafuel ASA and Midas Group AS.