Plastics recycling plant planned for Port of Sunderland - Norwegian firm says proposals would create hundreds of jobs

A plastics recycling plant could be on the way in Sunderland – bringing hundreds of new jobs with it.
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One hundred new long-term jobs and 200 during construction would be created if a company called Quantafuel gets the go-ahead for its proposals.

It wants to develop a 12-acre site on the eastern edge of the Port of Sunderland and is preparing to submit a planning application.

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The plant would open during 2024, subject to planning permission, and would also mean training and apprenticeships for local people.

The proposed Quantafuel Sunderland plant.The proposed Quantafuel Sunderland plant.
The proposed Quantafuel Sunderland plant.

If approved, the facility will process low value plastic waste that is currently not recycled in the UK. It is currently sent to landfill or incinerated. That includes soft food packaging and a variety of domestic and industrial plastics.

The new plant would transform the waste plastics into raw materials which can be used again in the production of high-grade plastic.

The process will reduce CO2 emissions and Sunderland people can find out more at two drop-in events on Wednesday and Thursday next week.

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Last year, Quantafuel – a specialist recycling company in Norway – announced plans to expand into the UK with a series of plastic recycling plants. The first is planned in Sunderland.

An artist's impression of the proposed new plant which would be built in Sunderland.An artist's impression of the proposed new plant which would be built in Sunderland.
An artist's impression of the proposed new plant which would be built in Sunderland.

Lars Rosenløv, chief executive of Quantafuel, urged members of the public to find out more by coming along to the two drop-in events. They will be held at Chance Community Centre in Rickaby Street, on Wednesday, March 9, and Thursday, March 10.

People can drop by any time between 11 am and 8 pm on both days.

Information boards will explain Quantafuel’s plans for the plastics processing plant, and members of the team will be available to answer questions from the public.

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The information boards are also available online at

An artist's impression of the proposed plant.An artist's impression of the proposed plant.
An artist's impression of the proposed plant.

The company has also distributed two information leaflets to homes in the East End and Hendon areas of the city to keep people updated and to ask for feedback.

Mr Rosenløv said: “We are very excited about our plans to expand across the UK and have identified an excellent site in Sunderland to develop our first plant. We have been very impressed by the positive reaction and welcome from both the port and Sunderland City Council.

“We value our neighbours and want to work in partnership with the community to ensure local people can get involved and can benefit from the plant.

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“We encourage people to come along to the information events to find out more and meet the team.”

The plant will be designed to process around 100,000 tonnes of plastics which would come from locations across the north of England.

It would use a chemical process known as pyrolysis which breaks down the waste plastic into small fragments in the absence of oxygen. The resulting oil is then used as raw material for new products. The process is recycling. It is not incineration.

The raw materials produced in the plant will be shipped to customers in the petrochemical industry, while gas produced will be used to power the plant.

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