Recycled in Dagenham

Update on Closed Loop Recycling's plastic recycling factory (8 July 2015)

We recently asked you to email the 4 biggest supermarkets, to call on them to save 120 jobs at Closed Loop Recycling's plastic recycling factory in Dagenham. Thank you for taking action on this crucial issue.

We've since heard back from 3 out of 4 major retailers, all of which are keen to see a future for recycled plastic. As yet, Asda hasn't replied.

The plant is now under new ownership, but due to increased price competition from virgin polymers as a result of declining oil prices, it is unfortunately still struggling to keep afloat.

The new owner has said that unless more favourable agreements with suppliers and buyers are agreed this week, the company will face closure.

The company is again calling for assurances from the dairy industry that they will commit to source recycled plastic from the plant. They have said that Tesco, Sainsbury’s and M&S are all backing the company’s bid.

This episode points out the danger of voluntary agreements – companies may sign up to them when it makes economic sense, but there is nothing to stop them abandoning their commitments as soon as it doesn’t.

It is vital that we have proper rules to make sure companies and governments act sustainably.

That is why last year we helped stop the European Commission from scrapping its plans to introduce a Circular Economy package, and why we are pushing for strong targets and measures in the revised plans expected later in 2015.

You can take action through our partners at Friends of the Earth Netherlands. Email Frans Timmermans - the man in charge at the European Commission - and tell him what must be in the new Circular Economy package.

Take action

Original news story:

120 jobs in the UK’s small but impressive plastics recycling industry – a key part of the green economy – hang in the balance. The survival of a major recycling facility in Dagenham has been put under threat by some of the country’s biggest retailers.

Closed Loop Recycling's multi-million pound plant is state of the art – one of the world’s finest producers of food grade’ recycled plastic.

And because some big companies might go back on their word, it could soon be stripped out to be sold to the highest bidder

What’s happened?

Major companies like Tesco and Sainsbury’s are rumoured to be reneging on a voluntary deal they have signed. Under this deal, 30% of the plastic in their milk bottles should come from recycled sources.

As the cost of oil has plunged it’s become cheaper for dairy companies and retailers to use more non-recycled plastic.

How much cheaper? Only 0.1p per bottle.

The public would be happy to pay this - over two-thirds of the UK public would gladly pay 0.1p more per bottle of milk if it meant bottles were 30% recycled. 

Both our environment and our economy really need companies like CLR to thrive, but these are worrying times. The big retailers must honour their promise to buy recycled plastic – helping to save jobs and show there’s a future for CLR.