16 October 2020

Mathys & Squire client Poseidon Plastics secures UKRI grant to fund waste PET recycling facility

We are delighted to share the news of our client, Poseidon Plastics, has been awarded a £2.6 million grant from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the national science and research funding agency, as part of its Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) challenge.

The full press release is available below:

Using its proprietary technology as a platform, Poseidon’s mission is to develop a PET plastic recycling infrastructure on an industrial scale. This grant will be used to commercialise Poseidon’s scientifically proven chemical recycling technology through the construction of its first commercial facility, initially capable of processing 10kpta of waste PET. Construction is planned to start in Teesside in the second quarter of 2021 and will be completed in 2022.

The facility will redirect the equivalent of over one billion bottles per year out of landfills and the environment, to instead be repurposed into consumer packaging and other end-uses by Poseidon’s commercial partners. This facility marks the start of Poseidon’s programme to expand its chemical recycling process across the globe, rapidly expanding its output of recycled plastic feedstock, and reducing the use of PET as a ‘single-use’ plastic worldwide.

Partnering with waste collection experts Biffa Polymers, PET resin producers Alpek Polyester UK and DuPont Teijin Films UK, the University of York’s Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence and polyester fibre end-users, O’Neil’s and GRN Sportswear, Poseidon Plastics will demonstrate how previously unrecyclable post-consumer and post-industrial packaging and film, alongside other hard-to-recycle PET wastes can now be chemically recycled back to virgin-quality PET feedstock, Poseidon rBHETTM, for use in the manufacture of new consumer end-use goods.

By completing the supply chain from waste collection and sorting to feedstock production and PET manufacture through to consumer end-use goods, Poseidon and its partners will achieve a UK-first, a fully circular economy for PET plastic. 

Around 80 million tonnes per annum of PET is produced globally, only a quarter of which is recycled. After the end of short first-use cycle, the majority of post-consumer and post-industrial PET plastic is currently incinerated or dumped in landfill, as it is deemed unsuitable as a feedstock for current recycling systems and processes. This is where Poseidon looks to make an immediate and significant difference; PET is lightweight, strong, inexpensive and with Poseidon’s proprietary technology, a valuable feedstock within a closed-loop circular economy.

Martin Atkins, CEO of Poseidon Plastics, commented: “We are delighted that the potential of our technology has been recognised by the government through UK Research and Innovation. This grant, as part of UKRI’s SSPP challenge, represents a significant and tangible commercial step on our way to achieving our ambitious, global-scale recycling targets.

“With the help of Alpek Polyester and our other partners, the new Teesside plant will evidence the scalability of our advanced recycling process and help us towards our core goal of making an immediate, significant, and sustainable impact on the global issue of plastic waste.”

Commenting on the news, Mathys & Squire partner Chris Hamer, who acts for Poseidon Plastics, said: “This is excellent news for Poseidon Plastics, as well as a positive step for green technology companies as the UKRI has invested a significant sum to tackle the important issue of plastic waste recycling. This would not have been possible without the specialist expertise and determination of the team at Poseidon Plastics – I look forward to seeing the construction project begin!”