Viridor will reprocess all of its recyclable plastic waste in UK from next year

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:
Core plastics are classed as HDPE, PET and PP

Viridor has announced it will reprocess all of its recyclable plastic waste in the UK from next year.

As part of the company’s recycling investment programme, all collected plastic will now be processed at its £65m reprocessing plant at Avonmouth, near Bristol, ready to be reused by packaging manufacturers in flake and pellet form for its core recyclable materials.

Core plastics are classed as HDPE (shampoo and milk bottles and other household items), PET (fizzy drink and water bottles) and PP (pots, tubs and trays), according to WRAP.

Viridor’s 2019 Recycling Index, which tracks public behaviour to recycling, found that 85% of UK residents said the UK should deal with its own plastic waste rather than exporting it, up five points from 2018.

Nine in ten agreed that plastic waste should be used to create resources that can be used again, with 65% saying they’d be more likely to buy products with packaging made from recyclable material.

Viridor Managing Director Phil Piddington argued that plastic should not be considered a single-use item given reprocessing uses 50% less energy than virgin plastic.

He said: “People expect the UK to be responsible for the waste it produces. The public want us to find a way to recycle and reprocess plastic so it is no longer considered single use, that it will go on to live another life and make an ongoing contribution to our economy.”

Sarah Heald, director of corporate affairs and investor relations at Viridor parent company Pennon, said the investment would help to addresses the reprocessing capacity gap which has led to plastic waste being exported.

She said: “The plastics tax and the Resources and Waste Strategy’s focus on issues such as Extended Producer Responsibility, or producer pays, will have a really significant impact because they help to create the right environment for investment in the infrastructure the UK needs and, of course, the demand for recyclable material in the UK.”

The 2022 plastic tax, which will mean packaging should contain at least 30% recyclable material, aims to create the demand for recyclable material in the UK.

The UK Plastics Pact, of which Viridor is a founding member, has made the removal of unrecyclable plastics a key focus over the coming year.

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