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Viridor calls for minimum requirement on use of recycled plastic

15th March 2018

Viridor, the UK’s biggest recycling company, has called on the Government to introduce a minimum requirement on the use of recycled plastic in new products which it says will help keep it off our beaches, out of oceans and back in the UK economy where it belongs.

Sarah Heald, Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations Director at Viridor’s parent company,  Pennon,  said the company wanted people to view waste as it does – a resource rather than rubbish.

The company highlighted the issue on BBC’s The One Show (Wednesday, 14 March).

Heald said: “Packaging is designed with material choice and dye influenced by a desire to tempt consumers to buy these products but, increasingly, we are finding that what consumers find most attractive is recyclability.

She said it was important to understand that recycling was not just about the collection – what is removed in kerbside collections. Waste must be given a purpose and we all need to play a part in ensuring that closed-loop recycling – which sees materials recycled and given another life – is a success.

“This has to start with consumer brands and retailers – packaging must be designed for recyclability and manufacturers need to want to receive recycled plastic back to stimulate market demand for this commodity.

“We are calling for a Government requirement on the use of recycled materials because we believe that, while some are responding to the concerns of the UK public and rising to the challenge of using recycled material, much more can be done.

“If we achieve this, if consumers in the supermarket seek out products made from recycling materials and adopt the right stuff, right bin approach, companies like Viridor can sort the materials and, because we have invested in a reprocessing facility in Skelmersdale, we can create flakes or pellets and return plastic to the manufacturing process. This closes the loop.”

She added that if the Government could support local authorities in offering a standardised collection system this would help to remove household confusion and further boost recycling efforts.

There were technical challenges to recycling plastics with hundreds in the system to which dyes and additional material had been added.

Heald said, however, there was good news with some 70% of UK supermarkets seeking Viridor’s advice on recyclability over the last 18 months.

“We welcome these conversations which allow us to work with consumer brands and retailers to ensure that more of the products on supermarket shelves can be recycled.”

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