As a major supplier to the ready-made meal and fresh meat industries, the factory is expected to produce around 300m CPET trays a year when the factory is at full capacity — about 80% of Faerch Plast’s UK sales are CPET trays.
Currently there are 36 members of staff employed on the site, using six thermoforming machines, which operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, in the next three or four years, the Dutch company hopes to recruit another 100-150 permanent members of staff as well as deploying another 14 machines.
FP managing director Joe Iannidinardo said the company’s ambition was to make more environmentally friendly products for the meat industry. He said: “Over the years we have introduced a lot of products into the market, such as clear plastic meat trays, which was quite an idea, as you can see the food from all sides and there is no hiding the fatty bits.”
Also for use in the meat industry FP will be producing “mono amorphous polyethylene terephthalate (MAPET) trays,” says Iannidinardo, which will ensure polythene liners are done away with and replaced with an adhesive that goes around the rim of the tray. “It’s being used for meat packing, as polythene normally becomes contaminated in the waste stream as it doesn’t get recycled individually, but rather as a mixed plastic.”
The new UK facility is based in north-east England and was opened by county council councillor Simon Henig, shareholders and the Faerch family.
Henig welcomed the new business and praised the Faerch family for choosing Durham, saying he was “pleased that an innovative company was adding to the Durham economy”.
Iannidinardo added: “This factory is another step in the development of the company and it gives us the opportunity to develop our services in the country and an opportunity to introduce new products to the market and the meat industry, as well as other parts of the industry.”