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Packaging company Duo invests £3m in new recycling business

Duclo Recycling

UK packaging manufacturer and consultancy Duo has established Duclo Recycling, a new company focused on plastics circularity.

  • Duo has invested £3 million in its new recycling arm, Duclo.
  • There is strong demand for recycled plastics in the UK after the government imposed a tax to discourage the use of virgin materials.
  • The circular economy is gaining traction to enable ongoing access to critical business inputs and materials. 

Duo is a packaging manufacturer and consultancy established in Manchester in 1988. Its new recycling business, Duclo, will be based in a 44,000-square-foot warehouse in Leeds. The £3 million investment has created six jobs so far with at least another 14 expected by the end of 2022.

What is Duclo going to do?

Duclo is intended to recover and recycle plastic packaging, preventing the waste of material at the end-of-use and its disposal in landfill. Duo will use the recycled pellets to make new packaging. Duclo’s dry recycling facility and wash plant is expected to recycle 7,000 tonnes of plastic by the end of 2022, with ambitions to double the capacity in 2023 by adding another wash plant. 

Carol Cox, managing director of Duclo, said: “There’s huge demand for recycled plastic pellets that simply isn’t being met. This demand is likely to increase as companies comply with the Plastic Packaging Tax and respond to growing calls for more resourceful packaging.”

Demand for recycled plastics grows after new tax

The UK government imposed the Plastic Packaging Tax in April 2022 to incentivise companies in using more recycled plastics. Businesses using plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled plastic, manufactured or imported into the country, are required to pay £200 per tonne.

According to estimates from PwC, it affects 20,000 companies across various sectors. Duclo is tapping into this market by providing manufacturers with more access to recycled plastic packaging.

Demand is expected to continue growing, as 49% of plastic packaging is currently recycled in the UK. As part of the Resources and Waste Strategy, England is targeting a 75% recycling rate for all packaging by 2030.

The circular economy can help ease market volatility

Alongside the benefits for the environment, circularity is one method that companies can use to access material even when the supply chain is inconsistent.

Dale Brimelow, operations director at Duo, said: “We’ve seen a lot of volatility in the plastics recycling market in the past few years and prices for recycled materials continue to fluctuate. This has been caused by a whole host of factors that impact plastic usage, such as COVID lockdowns and the Plastic Packaging Tax.”

He added: “Undoubtedly, we can expect continued market unpredictability, which really stresses the value of optimising recycling processes. Economies are becoming increasingly circular and it’s more important than ever to minimise the amount of material being lost to waste during recycling. Closed-loop is an effective way of achieving this.” 

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