Gwynedd Council to send plastic waste to ECO Plastics

Gwynedd Council and ECO Plastics have drawn up a ‘long-term partnership’, which will see the council sell all its mixed plastic waste to plastics recycling company ECO Plastics.

Thought to be ‘one of the first of its kind in the country’, the agreement will see all plastic collected from Gwynedd’s 120,000 residents baled at the council’s new Material Recycling Facility in Caernarfon and sold direct to ECO Plastics for processing at the 'world's largest plastics processing facility'  in Helmswell, Lincolnshire.

Presently, Gwynedd runs a weekly dry recycling and general waste collection, with the materials sent for sorting at the Caernarfon plant before being sold on to reprocessors for recycling.

It is hoped that by cutting out the middle-man, and with it ‘superfluous sorts’, the council will save money and energy, as well as ensure that more ‘quality material will be extracted from the process’.ECO Plastics estimates the bales will contain around 11 different streams of recyclable plastics.

ECO Plastics will also supply Gwynedd with a ‘Supplier Quality Audit’ to help ‘refine their own processes to produce the most efficient waste streams’.

Making end destinations more transparent

Gwynedd Council said that it hopes the new contract will help it comply with the Welsh Government’s ‘Dry Recycling End Destinations’ charter, which requires Welsh councils to provide publically-accessible information on where all its collected waste ends up.

Steffan Jones, Senior Waste and Commissioning Manager at Gwynedd Council said: “By processing the material ourselves rather than through a waste management company, this deal creates a new revenue stream from what was previously a cost – not just financially, but also environmentally.

“The income from our contract with ECO Plastics, savings in waste management company fees and landfill tax, increase in recycling rates and ability to comply with the End Destinations Charter, presents genuine a win-win-win-win scenario for the residents of Gwynedd.

“With the help of ECO Plastics we are now well on the way to reaching the statutory recycling target of 58 per cent by March 2016.”

Jonathan Short, Deputy Chairman of ECO Plastics said: “The contract is the first in a new business model for ECO Plastics - with the introduction of the End Destinations Charter, many councils have now committed to tracking where their waste is sent to ensure that it is processed and sold in a responsible and transparent manner.

“We expect that other authorities will be interested in replicating what Gwynedd has done with this agreement.”

ECO Plastics expects to have committed 70 per cent of its supply side contracts to similar partnerships by ‘the end of the year’.

The partnership comes just one month after ECO plastics drew up a 12-month contract with waste-management firm Viridor. The partnership will see Viridor provide ECO Plastics with 10,000 tonnes of plastic bottles in the space of a year – almost eight per cent of the plastic recycler’s total capacity.

Read more about ECO Plastics.

Gwynedd receives £240,000 for recycling bins

In related news, the Welsh Government has announced that it will give Gwynedd Council £240,000 to provide households with a 'sturdy, easy-to-move recycling system'.

The three stackable recycling units allow households to separate their recycling into separate compartments, while a wheeled frame enables residents to move the materials to the kerbside easily.

The money for the scheme has come from the Welsh Government’s £11.5 million Collaborative Change Programme, which aims to improve recycling across Wales.

It was decided to roll out the scheme to householders across Gwynedd following a 'successful' trial.

Announcing the funding, Minister for Natural Resources and Food Alun Davies, said: “The Welsh Government is committed to zero waste going to landfill by 2050, which requires high quality recyclable material, which has been separated to prevent materials being contaminated.  This funding is designed to support Gwynedd council’s efforts and to ensure that we continue to see improvements.  

“Householders and councils are working hard to meet ambitious Welsh Government recycling targets, and I thank them for their efforts.”   


Find out more about the Collaborative Change Programme.