22 September 2020 by James Langley

Biffa and Nestlé strike recycled plastic deal

Biffa has partnered with Nestlé Waters UK, the bottled water division of Nestlé UK, to provide the drinks company with recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) made from British recycled plastic.

Nestlé Waters UK has committed to making every one of its Buxton water bottles from rPET by 2021. It currently sources the PET used in its bottles from Europe.

Biffa has targeted quadrupling its UK plastic recycling by 2030, and the rPET supplied to Nestlé Waters will come from the company’s £27.5 million plastic recycling facility in Seaham, County Durham. The plant has the capacity to process the equivalent of 1.3 billion plastic bottles each year, Biffa says, and will supply recycled material to Nestlé Waters’ Buxton factory from 2021.

Nestlé Waters UK has committed to making every one of its Buxton water bottles from rPET by 2021

Michel Beneventi, managing director of Nestlé Waters UK, said: “This is a hugely significant step forwards in achieving our commitment of making our Buxton range from 100% rPET. By working together, sharing expertise across our companies to advance PET recycling for circularity, I believe we can be a force for good, helping to create positive, long-lasting impact and change for the planet.

“Having access to a local rPET supply reduces the carbon footprint of producing, sourcing and transporting our packaging from outside the UK and demonstrates the value that plastic drinks bottles have when they are recycled.”

Recycle Week

The announcement of the partnership coincides with the start of the 17th annual Recycle Week (see letsrecycle.com story).

“Announcements like this help give confidence to the UK recycling industry to invest in new capacity”

Helen Bird

Helen Bird is strategic engagement manager at WRAP, the resources charity which organises Recycle Week. She said: “We are very pleased to see two of our UK Plastics Pact members embracing the spirit of collaboration on which the Pact is founded.

“It is only by working together, across the supply chain, that we can reduce our reliance on virgin plastics and bring an end to plastic pollution.

“Using recycled plastic in the manufacture of new plastic products and packaging is the whole point of recycling, and announcements like this help give confidence to the UK recycling industry to invest in new capacity, so that we can keep even more plastic in use and out of the environment.”

Seaham

Biffa officially opened its £27.5 million recycling plant for PET plastics in Seaham on 29 January (see letsrecycle.com story). The facility is expected to generate £40 million in revenues every year.

Biffa officially opened its £27.5 million recycling plant for PET plastics in Seaham on 29 January

Chris Hanlon, commercial manager at Biffa Polymers, said: “At Biffa, a key pillar of our sustainability strategy is to help build a circular economy in the UK, part of which is to help our customers develop sustainable packaging that can fit into the closed-loop recycling system that we are working to develop.

“The collaboration with Nestlé Waters UK is a great example of this strategy in action, using recycled plastic to manufacture plastic bottles for resale.

“It demonstrates that when used correctly, plastic can have a sustainable role in modern life and we’re very much looking forward to working with Nestlé Waters UK and helping it to achieve its recycling goals.”

Recycled content

Under proposals outlined in the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, producers will pay more towards the cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging waste.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out plans for a plastics tax in his March budget. The budget document explained the tax was to be introduced in April 2022 and set at £200 a tonne (see letsrecycle.com story). It will apply for plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled plastic manufactured in or imported to the UK.

This has seen some grades of recycled plastic commanding higher prices in recent months.

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