Work starts on Viridor’s Kent plastics recycling plant

Waste management Viridor has confirmed that construction began earlier this week on its new £12.5 million plastics recycling facility in Rochester, Kent.

Expected to be capable of processing 75,000 tonnes of mixed plastics each year into ‘high-quality, clean plastic grades’ for packaging, the plant will also annually separate up to 10,000 tonnes of glass from combined input streams.

It is thought that the plant is the ‘first of its size’ to have the capability to recover mixed plastics as well as co-mingled glass and cans.

The equipment being installed in the facility includes ballistic separators, eddy current separators, flexible screens and de-stoners as well as sensor-based sorting equipment. Equipment suppliers TOMRA will supply its TITECH technology, which can reportedly recover polyethylene (PE), polyethylene-terephthalate (PET), polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP), and polyvinylchloride (PVC), from mixed plastics streams.

Delivered by engineering firm Stadler UK, the plant is expected to be operational in ‘early autumn’ and create 26 permanent jobs.

‘A signal of our real commitment towards a circular economy’

Viridor’s Herman van der Meij, Director of Resource Management (pictured above), commented: “Our industry is at the heart of making the green economy a reality. Making the most of the resources we have within the UK is becoming increasingly important as it creates employment opportunities and helps the country achieve its ambitions of becoming a leader in sustainability.

“We have had a strong presence in the south east of England for quite some time, developing resource-management infrastructure as well as investing in our people to make sure we deliver a high quality service and added-value to our customers as well as value to society and broader stakeholders. This latest investment is a signal of our real commitment towards helping develop a circular economy in the UK.”

Trevor Smart, UK Sales Manager at Stadler UK, added: “We are delighted to be working with Viridor on this prestigious development. The combination of our expertise in the design and delivery of plastics recycling facilities and excellent working relationship with Viridor will see this multi-million pound, state of the art facility open for processing later this year.”

Members of the waste and resources industry have welcomed the new plant, with plastics recycling organisation Recoup saying it was ‘delighted’ to see a new plastics recycling facility about to come on stream.

Recoup’s CEO Stuart Foster, said: “It is imperative that the UK is able to recycle more of its plastic resources as this will cut the use of virgin feedstock, help achieve the increasing packaging recycling targets, reduce the CO2 [carbon dioxide] load and, very importantly, significantly reduce the amount of plastic which ends up in landfill.

“We congratulate Viridor and its technology-supplier Stadler UK on this new facility.”

The project is one of a series of investments Viridor is making in its plastics recycling capability, after it invested over £1 million in a new flake optical sorting station for its high-density polyethylene (HDPE) line in Skelmersdale, Lancashire.

 Find out more about Viridor.