UK waste re-processor Viridor and food packaging manufacturer Faerch Plast have collaborated with retailers Marks & Spencer (M&S), Tesco and Sainsbury to create circular economy for recycling black plastic.


Image: Viridor and Faerch Plast have collaborated with UK retailer on circular economy solution to black plastic. Photo: courtesy of Viridor Limited.

The partnership is working on turning recycled black plastic into new food grade packaging in a project welcomed by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

Gove said: “This global leading scheme has the potential to mean the UK exports less of its waste, could divert huge amounts of plastic away from landfill and prevent virgin plastic entering the market in the first place.”

Starting in July, the project will initially recycle 120 tons of black plastic each month, helping to create a circular economy solution.

The partnership will steadily increase the volume of material over the next 18 months.

Viridor’s specialist plastics recycling facility, which is situated at Rochester in Kent, is serving as a centre of excellence for the initiative.

Under new process, Viridor will add black plastic to the coloured plastic stream, which is already recycled. This material will be used as packaging for M&S, Sainsbury’s and Tesco products.

Faerch Plast will deliver advanced packaging solution to the project, helping retailers to create sustained demand for the recycled material.

The project has proved a commercial process, which can be extended across the UK.

Viridor commercial director Paul Ringham said: “The project team, working together since January, has proven that black plastic from household mixed recycling can be recycled into high quality mixed coloured ‘jazz’ flakes to create food grade packaging.

“The breakthrough took place at two Viridor facilities, the plastics recycling facility at Rochester, which is one of the most advanced optical sorting facilities in the UK, and the polymers reprocessing plant at Skelmersdale in Lancashire which takes recycled plastic and creates flakes and pellets to be used in the manufacturing process.”