The FTSE 250 Pennon Group, the parent company of Viridor, the UK’s biggest recycling company, has announced a ground-breaking project which will harness the electricity created from non-recyclable waste at its £252m energy recovery facility at Avonmouth, near Bristol, to power a new £65m plastic recycling plant.
In year one, the UK’s biggest multi-polymer plant will produce 60KTPA of recycled plastic a year from 81KTPA feedstock (1.6 billion bottles, pots, tubs and trays), rising to 89KTPA (1.7 billion bottles, pots, tubs and trays) in year three, producing 63KTPA of recycled material. The new plastics recycling plant will be powered by energy created which uses non-recyclable waste as its fuel, creating a true circular economy energy park.
Pennon’s Chief Executive Officer Chris Loughlin said: “Pennon is dedicated to working in ever-more sustainable ways and we are extremely excited to be announcing this first-of-its-kind investment in plastics recycling. By using waste which cannot be recycled as the fuel to create low carbon electricity which will power plastics recycling, we are creating a truly resource and energy-efficient waste management solution.
“There is a clear ambition from both UK consumers and politicians to improve recycling rates and reduce the amount of waste which is sent to export. Our research shows that 80% of people believe the UK should find a way to deal with its own recycling without having to ship it to other countries.
“Unless action is taken now and investment in infrastructure is made, a plastic recycling capacity gap will undermine UK ambitions and the sustainability targets of retailers and the big consumer brands. We are, therefore, delighted to be leading the way.”
The recycling and reprocessing plant will be a world-class facility which creates a recycling powerhouse in the South West, where Viridor and Pennon have their headquarters. The plant is an early sign of Viridor’s continuing commitment to UK plastics conversion, coming within months of the Government’s Resources and Waste strategy and a year on from the UK Plastics Pact, of which Viridor was a founding member.
This co-location of a plastic reprocessing plant with an energy recovery facility is a real industry first creating the opportunity to create even greater sustainability and environmental efficiency.