Unilever teams up with Viridor on a five-year recycled plastic supply deal

UK – Unilever has signed an initial five-year contract with Viridor which will see Unilever receive of a range of recycled plastic from Viridor’s Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre near Bristol, England.

The companies – both founding members of the UK Plastics Pact – agreed an initial five-year contract for recycled plastic from the plant which is powered by non-recyclable waste through Viridor’s new US$362m Avonmouth facility.

The contract recognises the relationship between UK Plastics Pact partners and how such collaboration is vital towards achieving closed loop recycling solutions and the Pact’s goals of 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging by 2025.

Sebastian Munden, Unilever UK & Ireland General Manager, said: “Unilever has committed to increase its use of recycled plastic and close the loop on plastic packaging.

“Limited availability of high-quality recycled content has, though, remained a challenge and that’s why we’re so pleased that our collaboration with Viridor will bring extra capacity on-line in the UK. 

“This will be essential towards creating a more circular market, as well as contributing to the UK Plastic Pact targets.

Viridor Resource Management Managing Director Keith Trower added: “Viridor and Unilever are committed to helping the UK achieve its recycling and sustainability targets and this contract demonstrates how we are translating that ambition in action.

“To do this in a meaningful way Viridor has acknowledged the UK plastic reprocessing capacity gap and our Avonmouth investment is our response to that market demand.

“By putting more recycled plastic back into the economy, and powering that process with non-recyclable waste, we are creating a sustainable solution and ensuring consumer brands, such as Unilever, have access to quality post-consumer recycled material.”

The project will put 60,000 tonnes of recycled plastic (from bottles, pots, tubs and trays in PET, HDPE and PP flake and pellet form) back in the economy every year as a viable and sustainable solution to virgin plastic.

Viridor and Unilever have previously worked together with Nextek Ltd on detectable black plastic packaging for certain Unilever brands.

The move by Unilever follows a commitment first made by the UK Government in its Budget 2018 to impose a tax on recycled packaging which uses less than 30% recycled content from April 2022.

This has seen prices for some grades of recycled plastic, and food grade PET in particular, commanding ‘significantly higher’ prices than virgin material in recent months, with demand showing no sign of declining.

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