Ending the UK’s Reliance on Plastic Waste Export

Supporting Viridor with the "Ending the UK’s Reliance on Plastic Waste Export" Report

30th June 2022

plastic bottles

Anthesis is proud to have supported Viridor in the research and delivery of Bridging the Gap: Ending the UK’s Reliance on Plastic Waste Export. This report assesses the impact and opportunities of plastic packaging recycling in the UK. The research found that the amount of plastic packaging currently destined to end up in household recycling bins is set to increase by 45% by 2035 to over 1.9Mt (Megatonnes) each year. Without additional investment, exports of waste plastic and a loss of valuable material to the UK economy will only increase.

uk plastic waste recycling infographic

The research further highlighted the investment opportunity for mitigating against the at-capacity waste infrastructure systems currently in place, particularly in plastics sorting and reprocessing. Solutions identified within the report could unlock economic benefits across the UK, including sizable employment opportunities, as well as helping put an end to plastic waste exports and supporting an additional 14-16 million tonnes of plastic being recycled.

Our research shows how investment in high quality plastics recycling infrastructure is not only critical to drive down waste and carbon emissions, but that this could also unlock economic benefits across the UK. We are at a pivotal point for both resource use and reducing emissions, and the opportunities identified in this research are key to creating a more sustainable world.

Anna Brockhaus
Consultant, Anthesis

The research identified a £1bn investment opportunity through new plastics sorting and reprocessing facilities, which could create over 1,100 skilled green jobs and over £3bn in economic benefits over a 25-year time frame.

In March 2022, Viridor’s Avonmouth plastics reprocessing centre officially opened which is designed to process 80,000 tonnes of plastic every year. The plant will enable Viridor to recycle more than 90% of the plastics it previously exported from the UK.

Read the full Press Release from Viridor here