Under the multi-million pound agreement, Viridor will supply 10,000 tonnes of plastic bottles throughout 2014 – almost 8% of Eco Plastics’ total capacity.

The announcement is the latest in a trend that has seen a growing portion of the waste industry move away from spot trading and instead develop long term collaborations.

The additional surety provided by such agreements has allowed companies like Eco Plastics to invest in the creation of new technology, further developing the UK’s waste infrastructure.

In total some 35% of the reprocessor’s feedstock is now supplied through longer partnerships, with a target to reach 70% by the end of 2014.

Commenting on the announcement, Eco Plastics’ deputy chairman Jonathan Short said that buying material on the spot market can deliver robust prices, but it provides little certainty over future revenue levels.

“Crucially that makes it difficult to raise the finance necessary to invest in new technology, which in turn means that there are still valuable resources which can’t currently be recycled domestically,” he explained.

“As it becomes more and more difficult to export our waste material overseas, we’re left with a choice between building new infrastructure and going back to landfill. We see an industry wide move to longer agreements as the fundamental to resolving that dilemma.”

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) – who has a joint venture with Eco Plastics to reprocess its bottles for remanufacture – sees the latest deal as a win-win situation for all concerned.

CCE associate director Nick Brown said: “Collaboration unlocks great potential to optimise operations and this deal with Viridor is great news.
“It shows how leaders in the waste management industry are evolving to grasp the opportunities offered in a more circular economy.”

With the capability to sort 150,000 tonnes of mixed plastics, Eco Plastic’s Hemswell facility is responsible for reprocessing 35% of the bottles collected in the UK every year.

Maxine Perella

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