Resource Use

Viridor signs supply contract with ECO Plastics

(L-R): Nick Brown (Coca-Cola Enterprises); Jonathan Short (ECO Plastics); and Herman van der Meij (Viridor Resource Management).

Waste management firm Viridor is to provide recycling company ECO Plastics with waste plastic bottles as part of a new, ‘multi-million pound partnership’, it was announced today (9 January).

Under the 12-month contract, Viridor will provide ECO Plastics with 10,000 tonnes of plastic bottles collected from its waste management activities – providing almost eight per cent of the plastic recycler’s total capacity.

Commenting on the announcement, Jonathan Short, Deputy Chairman of ECO Plastics, said: “Obviously a contract of this size is important for us, and we’re delighted to be partnering with one of the UK’s leading waste management companies in Viridor…

“Buying material on the spot market can at times deliver robust prices, but it provides very little certainty over future revenue levels. Crucially that makes it difficult to raise the finance necessary to invest in new technology, which in turn means that there are still valuable resources [that] can’t currently be recycled domestically.

“As it becomes more and more difficult to export our waste material overseas [due to restrictions such as China’s ‘Green Fence’], we’re left with a choice between building new infrastructure and going back to landfill. We see an industry-wide move to longer agreements as … fundamental to resolving that dilemma.” 

Indeed, ECO Plastics has said that it hopes to increase its number of long-term partnerships with waste management companies so that, by the ‘end of 2014’, it could see 70 per cent of its feedstock brought in by these types of contracts (up from 35 per cent currently).

Herman van der Meij, Director of Viridor Resource Management, said that the company was ‘proud’ to be working with ECO Plastics (and Coca-Cola Enterprises, with which ECO Plastics runs a £15-million joint venture, Continuum Recycling), saying:“Practical partnerships and cross-sector collaborations are essential if we are to move towards a real circular economy. 

“This deal shows leading businesses working together across the value chain, from goods manufacturing, retail, collection and sorting to reprocessing and remanufacture.”

Nick Brown, Associate Director for Coca-Cola Enterprises, also welcomed the partnership, adding that collaborations such as these “[show] how leaders in the waste management industry are evolving to grasp the opportunities offered in a more circular economy and will act as reassurance to householders and local authorities that the domestic recycling industry is thriving”.

ECO Plastics’s Hemswell facility is reportedly the ‘world’s largest plastics recycling facility’, capable of processing 150,000 tonnes of mixed plastics a year, including 40,000 tonnes of bottle-grade rPET pellet (such as that from plastic drink bottles). It currently reprocesses around 35 per cent of all plastic bottles collected in the UK every year.

Read more about ECO Plastics.