Irish plastic recycling facility to invest additional €5m

Trifol converts plastic waste into wax from its plant in Portlaoise

Trifol chief executive Daire Gilmore, Minister for Justice  Charlie Flanagan and Patrick Alley, founder and chairman of Trifol, at the company’s  facility in Portlaoise, Co Laois. Photograph: Julien Behal

Trifol chief executive Daire Gilmore, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Patrick Alley, founder and chairman of Trifol, at the company’s facility in Portlaoise, Co Laois. Photograph: Julien Behal

 

The founder of the world’s first facility to convert plastic waste into wax has said he will invest an additional €5 million in the facility to double its capacity by the beginning of next year.

Speaking to The Irish Times Inside Business podcast, Patrick Alley said ramping the facility in Co Laois up to “phase two” would cost another €5 million.

Some €12 million has already been invested by Mr Alley and other shareholders getting the plant to its operational phase.

Trifol produces eco-friendly wax from 100 per cent plastic waste. It can be used across a variety of industries, from personal cosmetics to candles and chewing gum.

The product, EnviroWax, removes up to two tonnes of plastic waste for each tonne of wax produced. The company can also produce wax ingredients for the production of synthetic lubricants.

Trifol’s patented processes follow research at Queen’s University Belfast and subsequent testing at the University of Limerick. The company has been awarded three patents by the UK patent office for its process. Patents have been filed and approved already.

“I have a great interest in the environment, but my love for plastics is driven by total commercialism,” Mr Alley said, noting that western governments were having to look at properly disposing of their own plastics after China stopped taking plastic waste.

The company has had interactions with the State through a grant application, but it was unsuccessful.

The company can process more than 50 per cent of all plastic waste, including polyethylene, which makes grocery bags and shampoo bottles, and polypropylene, which is used for plastic parts such as in the automotive industry.

As to where it will be in five year, Mr Alley said the outlook was “to have a global outreach, building new plants as quickly as we can”.