A new automated £1m recycling plant which has been commissioned in Co Antrim will prevent plastic bottles being exported to China, the company behind the project said today.
Irish Polymers from Crumlin said that this was one of the benefits to accrue from the opening of the first fully automatic sort facility for used plastic bottles in Ireland.
Des Mullan, marketing director of Irish Polymers, said: "Until now used plastic bottles collected throughout Ireland for recycling were simply baled and exported to China and other Far Eastern countries in containers.
"The export of these materials made economic sense but was not environmentally sustainable and deprived us of a source of raw material for recycling."
The machinery can sort the material by colour and polymer type in a new 20,000 sq ft plant.
Mr Mullan said: "We plan to process 10,000 tonnes of mixed plastic bottles within the next year, creating an extra 12 jobs."