Eco Plastics signs long-term deal with UK Council

U.K.-based plastics recycler notes agreement is part of its recent trend toward long-term partnerships.

March 14, 2014
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation & Regulations Plastics

Eco Plastics, a plastics recycling company based in Hemswell, Lincolnshire, U.K., has signed a long-term partnership arrangement with Gwynedd Council, which Eco Plastics says is the first of its kind in the country. Under the agreement, Eco Plastics will receive all the mixed plastic produced directly from the residents of the Council. Gwynedd Council is the governing body for the principal area of Gwynedd, one of the subdivisions of Wales within the United Kingdom.

The decision follows a significant investment by Gwynedd in a new Material Recycling Facility (MRF), which will allow the Council to carry out an initial sort of recyclables collected at curbside from its 120,000 residents. ECO Plastics will purchase the material before running it through its own plant, and is expected to produce 11 different streams of recyclable plastics. In addition, the contract is the first to include Eco Plastics’ Supplier Quality Audit (SQA), which enables suppliers to tap into Eco Plastics’ expertise to refine their own processes to produce the most efficient waste streams.

The streamlined process will require less sorting and divert more of the council’s tonnage from landfill annually due to ECO Plastics’ technology. At the same time the Council expects to see significant savings and will also be better positioned to comply with the new End Destinations Charter, which encourages local authorities to monitor where their waste will be sent.

Jonathan Short, Eco Plastics’ deputy chairman, says, “Gwynedd initially contacted us because of concerns around the final destination of their waste materials. After two members of our SQA team visited Caernarfon (the location where the council’s MRF is located) to review their process, they decided to move away from segregating different polymers and instead provide a mixed plastics bale direct. By eliminating several superfluous sorts, it has ensured that more quality material will be extracted from the process and less material is sent for disposal saving residents money in the process.”

“The contract is the first in a new business model for Eco Plastics,” Short adds. “With the introduction of the End Destinations Charter, many Councils have now committed to tracking where their waste is sent to ensure that it is processed and sold in a responsible and transparent manner. We expect that other authorities will be interested in replicating what Gwynedd has done with this agreement.”

Steffan Jones, Gwynedd Council’s senior waste and commissioning manager, says, “By processing the material ourselves rather than through a waste management company, this deal creates a new revenue stream from what was previously a cost—not just financially, but also environmentally. The income from our contract with Eco Plastics, savings in waste management company fees and landfill tax, increase in recycling rates and ability to comply with the End Destinations Charter, presents genuine a win-win-win-win scenario for the residents of Gwynedd.

“With the help of Eco Plastics we are now well on the way to reaching the statutory recycling target of 58 percent by March 2016.”

The deal with Gwynedd Council follows a similar arrangement made by Eco Plastics with the waste management company Viridor.