Viridor food-grade PET gets the green light from European Food Safety Authority

Avonmouth PRF

Viridor is celebrating a significant achievement at the company’s new Avonmouth Polymers Reprocessing Facility (PRF), near Bristol, after the plant’s food-grade PET received a positive safety assessment from the European Food Safety Authority.

Commissioning of the new plant – which puts polymers recycling and reprocessing under one roof – has begun. Once fully operational, Avonmouth will become the UK’s largest multi-polymer facility. It will 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.

European Food Safety Authority opinion is based on a thorough assessment of plant processes with an emphasis on the suitability of the finished polymer product for packaging applications.

Viridor Director of Business Development (Polymers) Luke Burgess said: “This is 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 & Waste Strategy.

“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.”

Roxane 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.”

The Avonmouth PRF represents a ground-breaking achievement in the UK waste sector as it receive its heat and electricity from the processing of non-recyclable waste at a co-located energy recovery plant which diverts 320,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste from landfill every year generating valuable heat and power.