Everything for the kitchen sink made from everything but...
Plastic throw-aways such as pots, tubs and trays once destined for landfill will soon make a clean-start comeback to the kitchen as recycled homeware range, ReBorn.
Nearly all UK homeware products are made from synthetic polymers and plastics imported from Asia - a highly carbon-intensive process counter-productive to UK net zero targets. And every year the UK bins an average 70 million items of homeware.
The £150k venture, ReBorn, will see waste plastics revived as factory-fresh, low-carbon, sustainable washing-up bowls, dishracks and drainers stylish enough to stock the shelves at John Lewis.
The radical circular sustainable way to make homeware is developed by Brunel University London, Biffa and Henley Marketing, backed by UK Research and Innovation.
“ReBorn promises to markedly reduce the number of virgin plastics the UK imports, and importantly, help promote a circular plastics economy”, said Brunel University London’s Dr George Fern.
The UKRI funding will fuel the first stage of the scheme set to create at least 32 new jobs nationwide within five years.
UK households’ recyclable waste plastics will be collected by High-Wycombe-based waste management company Biffa and made at a plant in Redcar into high-quality recycled polypropylene (PP) to form the ReBorn range. Chemical engineers at Brunel University London in Uxbridge will test the recycled plastic’s properties. They’ll check it’s safe for home use, durable, long-lasting and crucially recyclable itself when no longer needed.
The Brunel team will also track the lifecycle of the process to investigate the benefits of using recycled plastics from a carbon emissions and resources consumption perspective. This will be a comparative analysis with conventional virgin plastic import-reliant homeware products manufacture.
Shoppers will be able to buy innovative products from leading UK retailer John Lewis this Autumn.
Phil Goodier, Managing Director, Biffa Polymers said: “As we strive to create more circular processes in the UK’s waste sector, it’s crucial for participants across the value chain to see the value in utilising good quality PP recyclate and designing products with the end-of-life perspective in mind.
“We are excited to see the potential of ReBorn’s novel approach to utilising recycled PP plastic for more sustainable outlets.
“It would be great to see food grade PP one day attaining the same closed loop circularity as post-consumer HDPE and PET plastics. Meanwhile it’s great to know our material is being used for such a sustainable and impactful purpose.”