Most of the plastic Icelanders throw away is burnt or sent to Sweden, RÚV reports. Pure North Recycling, the only plastic recycling company in the country, operates around the clock but still falls short of meeting demand. Its CEO Sigurður Halldórsson says Iceland is lagging behind when it comes to recycling plastic.
“We are behind other countries we measure ourselves up against and we are missing a clear and smart direction,” Sigurður says about the state of plastic recycling in Iceland. “People both in Iceland and Europe are realising that this system just doesn’t work like they thought, but the direction is clear from the European Union that each country is responsible for its own recycling and that’s what we’re doing here.”
Located in Hveragerði, South Iceland, Pure North Recycling is doing their part. The company may be alone in the world in using geothermal energy to recycle plastic. They recycle a variety of plastic products such as hay bale wrap, stretch film, and fishing gear.
“Icelanders can be at the forefront of plastic recycling, we have great potential here with the energy we have,” Sigurður remarks. “We are using geothermal heat and steam in this process and in this way we could go from being at the bottom and take clear leadership in these issues.”