Viridor announces plastic waste collaboration

Waste management company Viridor has announced it will work with Spanish chemical recycler Plastic Energy to return up to 30,000 tonnes of end-of-life plastic waste to the economy each year. 

A Plastic Energy plant
An image of Plastic Energy plant

Viridor announced on Monday (18 May) that it had commenced feasibility work on a new project to deliver predominantly low-density plastic film to a new Plastic Energy chemical recycling plant, where it will be turned into an oil product called TACOIL. This oil would then be used as a feedstock to create new virgin plastic.

Viridor and Plastic Energy have initially signed a Memorandum of Understanding on their collaboration, with the project expected to be finalised by the end of 2023 if feasibility work is successful.

The project envisions the Plastic Energy plant being co-located with a Viridor energy recovery facility, meaning that it can operate on low-carbon electricity that Viridor generates from unrecycled waste.

The project would represent Plastic Energy’s first plant in the UK market, currently operating two commercial plants in Spain.

Reflecting on the collaboration with Plastic Energy, Phillip Piddington, Managing Director of Viridor, said: “This project is further evidence of Viridor’s ongoing commitment to investment and innovation to push the boundaries of what is recycled and reprocessed in the United Kingdom. We are very proud to be working with Plastic Energy to develop a project which further demonstrates how all waste can be considered a resource and not rubbish and that collaboration is the key to achieving our green economy goals.”

Carlos Monreal, Founder and CEO of Plastic Energy, said: “We are delighted to support the development of an integrated site with Viridor in the UK and provide a solution for plastics previously not recycled. Chemical recycling will support government’s goal to move towards a circular economy and to increase recycling rates for plastics, effectively making plastic waste a valuable resource.”

Boosting UK plastic recycling

This latest announcement is part of Viridor’s “ongoing commitment” to keeping plastics out of the waste stream and within the circular economy. In 2018, the company signed up to the UK Plastics Pact, which pushes to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic packaging by 2025.

Last year, Viridor announced that it planned to open a new £65-million multi-polymer plastic recycling plant in Avonmouth, near Bristol, which will be capable of processing 81,000 tonnes of PET, HDPE and PP plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays per annum after three years from the area.

Demonstrating further ambition, Viridor announced at the end of last year that it would be processing all of its plastic waste domestically from the end of this year.

Incentives to increase recycling of plastic packaging and for that recycling to take place in the UK have been further established by recent government announcements. In the Spring Budget, it was confirmed that a Plastic Packaging Tax on plastic packaging containing less than 30 per cent recycled material would be introduced in April 2022, while in the Environment Bill, which passed its second reading in the House of Commons in February, the export of plastic waste to developing countries is set to be banned.

To read more on Viridor’s developments in resource use visit the company’s website.