16 March 2020 by James Langley

Biffa pledges £1.25 billion green economy investment

Waste management company Biffa has pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 and “unlock” £1.25 billion of investment in UK green economy infrastructure.

The pledge was announced in its long-term sustainability strategy ‘Resourceful, Responsible’, published today (16 March). The strategy focuses on three areas: building a circular economy, tackling climate change and caring for its employees.

Biffa’s long-term sustainability strategy ‘Resourceful, Responsible’ was published today

Michael Topham, chief executive of Biffa plc, said: “’Resourceful, Responsible’ fully supports our strategic growth plans and long-term vision, defining the important role Biffa can play in delivering more sustainable solutions to help combat the UK’s waste challenge.

“I am very proud of the great progress that we, and the wider industry, have made in recent years to grow recycling levels and drive significant reduction in CO2 emissions, but we recognise there is much more to do.”

Earlier this month Biffa reported a “strong performance” in the last financial year, citing increasing demand for recycled plastics as one reason for its success (see letsrecycle.com story).

CO2

Biffa hopes to reduce its emissions through increased recycling and diversion from landfill and by improving collection route densities. The company says it has already reduced its CO2 emissions by 65% since 2002.

Michael Topham is chief executive of Biffa

In the medium-term, Biffa says it plans to phase out fossil-fuelled collection vehicles as new electric collection vehicle technology becomes more viable. To reduce emissions generated by its vehicles further it plans to increase collection rout efficiency by 20%.

It also plans to install solar farms on its estate of closed and restored landfill sites.

Mr Topham said: “‘Resourceful, Responsible’ is an ambitious but deliverable strategy which is based on proven technologies and is supported by our previously outlined investment plans.

“We look forward to reporting on our progress in the coming years as we deliver this plan and the exciting investment opportunities that it presents to our business.”

Investment

Biffa says the £1.25 billion investment in green economy infrastructure is to be achieved by expanding its low carbon collection business, quadrupling the company’s plastic recycling capability, and developing energy from waste (EfW) infrastructure.

Artist’s impression of the Newhurst EfW facility

It says it is investing in two further EfW plants – Newhurst and Protos – which will produce enough energy to power 170,000 homes. However, it was announced in February that the Protos plant had been delayed (see letsrecycle.com story).

As part of its plans to quadruple its plastic recycling capabilities Biffa opened a £27.5m recycling plant in Seaham, County Durham, for PET plastics on 29 January (see letsrecycle.com story).

Zoe Lenkiewicz, head of programmes and engagement at waste charity WasteAid, said: “Biffa employees have been overwhelmingly supportive of the WasteAid campaign to stop plastic pollution in the east Atlantic Ocean and their level of support is a first for the UK waste management sector.”

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