5 November 2018 by Joshua Doherty

Recycling investment sees Veolia progress against ‘circular’ goal

Waste and resources company Veolia has continued to push ahead against its goal to grow the portion of its business tied to the ‘circular economy’, which now accounts for 25% of its revenue in the UK.

Veolia’s report covers the 2017 calendar year and highlighted some of the achievements at its UK facilities

In its annual sustainability report, published this month, the company said that progress had been achieved in part due to a £1.5 billion investment in UK recycling and energy infrastructure, which has included plastic and glass processing facilities.

The sustainability report covers the 2017 calendar year and presented some of the results at its facilities across the UK.

This includes producing 10,000 tonnes of food grade HDPE pellets from recycled milk bottles at its Dagenham Plastics Facility, as well as converting  60,000 tonnes of waste glass bottles and jars into “energy saving insulation”, following investment in a £10m facility in partnership with Knauf Insulation at St Helens.

Veolia has described the ‘circular’ element of its business as working with its customers on “fully integrated resourcing solutions” around materials and energy recovery.

‘Advances’

Writing in the report, Gavin Graveson, executive vice-president of Veolia UK & Ireland, said the company will continue to invest in its operations over the next three years.

“Innovation over the last few years has given us an unprecedented opportunity to minimise resource use, guarantee energy supply and cut climate-changing emissions, and this is reflected in our progress,” Mr Graveson said.

And, he added:  “We believe, now more than ever, is the time to make a step change in the approach to carbon emissions and we plan to fund this growth with a planned further investment of £1 billion by 2022. By driving this innovation we are creating new skills and jobs, and delivering wider social impact for all.”

Achievements

Veolia extended its coffee cup recycling scheme in central London in September 2018

Projects highlighted in the report, include the collection of more than 21 million disposable cups via its coffee cup recycling service for major coffee and restaurant customers. This includes schemes in Central London to provide bins to capture ‘on the go’ coffee cups, which was extended as part of Recycle Week in September (see letsrecycle.com story).

Other recycling milestones the company highlighted include the recycling of 178,000 TVs and monitors, production of more than 220,000 tonnes of compost at its 12 organic waste sites and also converting 2.3 million tonnes of non-recyclable waste into energy.

Local authority

The report also touched on local authority budgets, and how Veolia has been working with councils to “do more with less”.

“We work in partnership with councils to develop resource management solutions that will continue to deliver services that local residents have come to expect, while boosting recycling rates, finding energy efficiencies and contributing to improved local community environments,” the report said.

Momentum

Within the report, Veolia has stated that by 2020 ‘circular economy’ activities will account for 32% of Veolia’s revenue, which would equate to approximately £650 million.

“The momentum behind the plastics revolution seems unstoppable and at Veolia, we see this as the catalyst for the transition to a wider circular model across a wide range of materials,” the report said.

A full copy of the report can be found here. 

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