25 November 2019 by James Langley

Viridor signs recycled plastics deal with INEOS

Chemicals company INEOS has agreed a deal with waste management company Viridor to produce “high-specification polymers with more than half post-consumer recycled content”.

As part of the agreement, Viridor will supply INEOS with recovered polymer from the Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre, the £65m post-consumer polymers recycling plant near Bristol.

Artist’s impression of the Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre

Commenting after signing the deal, Viridor resource management managing director Keith Trower said: “Partnerships such as that with INEOS are crucial to the transition to the circular economy, where every product is comprised of a majority of recycled plastics.”

Recycled plastics lose some of their physical strength and performance each time they are recycled, and INEOS’ project will attempt to “tailor the properties of the new hybrid polymers to function to the same standard as existing products”.

The range will contain 50 per cent post-consumer recycled plastics compounded with virgin polymers and will cover rigid and flexible products for use in non-food contact applications.

Ron Ingram, INEOS Olefins & Polymers CEO, said: “Using our polymer expertise, we will engineer a new range of polymers to incorporate high levels of recycled plastics.

“These new materials will meet growing demand for increased levels of recycled content without compromise to product performance and quality.”

Details of the tonnage of recycled material involved in the deal were deemed commercially sensitive by Viridor.

Plant

The move comes just a week after Unilever signed a five-year contract to secure material from the Avonmouth plastics reprocessing plant (see letsrecycle.com story).

Once operational in 2020 or 2021, the new plant will process 81,000 tonnes a year of plastic feedstock such as bottles, pots, tubs and trays into 60,000 tonnes a year of recycled PET, HDPE and PP in flake and pellet form.

The plant will process plastic feedstock in flake and pellet form

It is to be powered by Viridor’s £252m energy recovery plant, which puts non-recyclable waste to work to produce electricity and heat.

Legislation

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

In the budget of 2018, the government announced a new tax on plastic packaging that does not include enough recycled material, taking effect from April 2022.

Viridor managing director, Phil Piddington said that the Avonmouth facility “demonstrates Viridor’s commitment to these goals.”

Materials

INEOS produces raw materials used in the manufacture of a variety of goods, including modern plastics to package, protect and preserve food and drink.

The company claims to be Europe’s largest olefin buyer, and at its four petrochemical plants produces ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene and polyolefins.

In a week when political parties such as Labour have announced plans in their manifesto to end plastic exports (see letsrecycle.com story ), the company has moved to secure recycled content from the UK.

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