Viridor and The One Show use beach plastic to show the Circular Economy in action
24th April 2018
Viridor and the BBC’s The One Show combined their resources to send a powerful message on the need to act now to stem the tide of beach and ocean plastics and to demonstrate how the Circular Economy can work when the right stuff is put in the right bin.
Viridor’s Logistics team transported the beach plastic from locations around the UK – from Cornwall to Aberdeen – and last night (Monday, 23 April) The One Show team showed how it had visited the company’s specialist Plastics Recycling Facility at Rochester in Kent and its plastic reprocessing site at Skelmersdale in Lancashire to witness the beach plastic’s continuing journey and the Circular Economy in action.
Last night’s footage showed The One Show’s Lucy Siegle visit Viridor’s Rochester plant to see the beach plastic sorted and baled.
Lucy commented: “It’s amazing that this was lying on the beach not that long ago, causing a hazard and now we are dealing with it.”
Viridor Rochester Unit Manager Edward Sarasketa said: “That’s the message. If you put the material into the recycling, it gets recycled. It’s not on the beach.”
Viridor Head of Recycling Assets (Polymers & Papers) Jez Blake showed Lucy how the plastic was sorted, cleaned and granulated at the company’s Skelmersdale plant where The One Show reporter asked why the quality was so important.
Jez said: “If we put it through these processes and take the time, there is absolutely no reason why this bottle can’t become another bottle.”
The project saw Surfers Against Sewage volunteers taking part in beach cleans to collect more than eight tonnes of beach plastic including fishing net, plastic bottles and commercial marine material.
Working with The One Show production staff, Viridor deposited the eight tonnes of plastic in front of the programme’s studios at Broadcasting House in London on Monday, 16 April.
The beach plastic surrounded The One Show’s presenters Matt Baker and Alex Jones on the programmes famous green sofas. Joining them was Jez and Lucy with naturalist Chris Packham and, representing the British Plastics Federation, Lubna Edwards. Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs joined the discussion from Westminster.
Lucy outlined her “plastic plan” which picked up many of the messages Viridor has consistently raised to increase recycling efforts. These include standardised local government collections, greater efforts towards reprocessing to achieve closed loop recycling, innovation to ensure plastics were given a second life and a legislative framework which supported this.
Jez said that sophisticated facilities were required to sort and reprocess a large number of plastics currently in circulation and to reprocess them to ensure they were a sustainable and Circular Economy material. He said the most effective way to increase recycling was to put the right stuff in the right bin but simplifying the number of material in packaging products and their labelling would make it easier for people to do the right thing.
He noted that it was encouraging that over the past 18 months more than 70% of UK’s retailers and consumer brands had brought their packaging to Viridor’s Rochester Plastics Recycling Facility to test them for recyclability.
Talking about measures the Government was to introduce Mr Gove agreed the hundreds of local government recycling schemes were “sub-optimal” but said this was part of an effort to empower local government. He agreed they were confusing for the public and “wasteful”. He added: “Change has got to come.”
- Here is a link to last night’s clip which starts at 23:19
- Here is a link to The One Show (beach plastic special) on Monday, 16 April.
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