EFSA gives Viridor’s food-grade PET go-ahead

Waste management company Viridor announced today (7 September) that its food-grade polyethylene terephthalate (PET) has received a positive safety assessment from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

The verdict from EFSA is predicated on an in-depth assessment of plant processes, with a focus on the suitability of the finished polymer product for packaging applications.

rPET pelletCommissioning of the company’s new Polymers Reprocessing Facility (PRF) in Avonmouth, which will produce the material through reprocessing used plastics, has also begun. Once fully operational, the plant will become the UK’s largest multi-polymer processor, producing 18,000 tonnes of food-grade PET annually. Viridor stated that, with the new facility, it plans to put 60,000 tonnes of recycled plastic – including bottles, pots, tubs and trays made of PET, high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and polypropylene (PP) – back into the economy every year as a ‘viable and quality alternative to virgin plastic’.

The Avonmouth PRF will also receive heat and electricity from the processing of non-recyclable refuse at a co-located energy recovery plant.

Viridor Director of Business Development (Polymers), Luke Burgess, commented: “This is a tremendous achievement for Viridor and the hardworking Avonmouth team who have delivered a plant which represents a crucial infrastructure investment for the UK ahead of important policy changes.

“These include next year’s plastics packaging tax and further legislation such as extended producer responsibility and deposit return schemes, which form a central element of the UK Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy.

“The recognition of this investment and our quality food-grade PET is, of course, vital to ensure the UK can achieve closed-loop recycling – which means food and drinks packaging can be recycled, reprocessed and returned to their original purpose, creating new food and drink packaging.

“It’s also an extremely important development for our clients who have their own environmental commitment and sustainability targets.”

Davy Brunel, Director of bottled water company Roxane, said of the potential for a PET partnership with Viridor: “As a major player in the drinks bottle manufacturing industry in the UK and Europe, we see our supply partnership with Viridor as being key to our continued success and growth.

“We welcome the news that Viridor has received EFSA food approval certification for rPET pellet supply and look forward to working with Viridor in the future.”