Viridor ‘commissioning Avonmouth plastics plant’

Commissioning of Viridor’s new polymer reprocessing facility near Bristol is underway, the company has said. The move to commissioning comes after some engineering delays to the project, partly because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Inside the polymer reprocessing plant at Avonmouth

And, Viridor has announced that food grade PET produced from recycled PET plastic has received a “positive safety assessment” from the European Food Safety Authority.

Development of the plant by Viridor is widely seen as an important step in the UK developing its own domestic plastics recycling infrastructure rather than having to send material abroad for reprocessing. However, in the short term Viridor is thought to be unable to handle large volumes of material at the site and is instead striving to find alternative sites to take in the PET and other materials.

Once fully operational, Avonmouth will become the UK’s largest multi-polymer facility, the company said in a statement this week. Viridor noted that the plant is to produce 18,000 tonnes of food-grade PET annually.

“In total, Avonmouth will put 60,000 tonnes of recycled plastic from bottles, pots, tubs and trays (PET, HDPE and PP) back in the economy every year as a viable and quality alternative to virgin plastic,” the company said.

This is a tremendous achievement for Viridor
– Luke Burgess, Viridor director of business development for polymers

Viridor director of business development for polymers, Luke Burgess said: “This is a tremendous achievement for Viridor and the hardworking Avonmouth team who have delivered a plant which represents a crucial infrastructure investment for the UK ahead of important policy changes. These include next year’s plastics packaging tax and further legislation such as extended producer responsibility and deposit return schemes, which form a central element of the UK government’s Resources and Waste Strategy.”

Mr Burgess added: “The recognition of this investment and our quality food-grade PET is, of course, vital to ensure the UK can achieve closed loop recycling – which means food and drinks packaging can be recycled, reprocessed and returned to their original purpose, creating new food and drink packaging. It’s also an extremely important development for our clients who have their own environmental commitment and sustainability targets.”

Drinks bottle industry

One customer for the PET produced by the plant is French-owned water and soft drinks company Roxane UK, based in Lichfield. Director Davy Brunel said: “As a major player in the drinks bottle manufacturing industry in the UK and Europe, we see our supply partnership with Viridor as being key to our continued success and growth. We welcome the news that Viridor has received EFSA food approval certification for rPET pellet supply and look forward to working with Viridor in the future.”

Heat

The Avonmouth PRF receives its heat and electricity from the processing of residual waste at the co-located energy recovery plant which receives around 320,000 tonnes of waste annually.

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