Companies Turn Plastics into Oil in Fight Against Plastic Waste

A company that says it has the technology to turn plastics into oil says that it wants to open a plant in the UK.

Plastics Energy already has two plants in Seville and Almeria in Spain, and it’s opened a technology HQ in London. The company will be the fourth such company in the UK market, operating alongside Recycling Technologies, Powerhouse Energy and Renew ELP.

The company says its technology can be used to turn plastic waste into alternative fuels or oil (known as TACOIL), which then can be used to make new food-safe plastics. It says that a Thermal Anaerobic Technology (TAC) recycling process is used which can make around 850 litres of oil for every tonne of used plastic. As part of the process, plastics are heated in the absence of oxygen, and the vapour produced is distilled to make TACOIL.

A wide range of plastics can be converted including rigid or film plastics, and any leftover residue from the process is turned into solid ‘char’ which is often used for fuel.

Plastics Energy claims it is the only company in the world that has managed to turn plastics into oil on a commercial level. It added that its plants in Spain have produced three million litres of oil in two years.

An increase in plastics-to-oil companies

An increased focus on plastic waste has led to an increase in the number of so-called plastics-to-oil companies entering the UK market.

Recycling Technologies has a plant in Swindon and has plans to expand into Scotland after receiving a £2 million grant from Zero Waste Scotland to build a specialist plastic processing facility.

Renew ELP, an Australian company, says its patented Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor machine is coming to the UK and will be operational at its Teesside site by the end of next year.

PowerHouse Energy is another firm that has entered the UK market and it says that its modular waste to energy system is the most efficient and eco-friendly on the market.