On Wednesday 27 March representatives from the horticultural industry visited Viridor’s Plastics Recovery Facility in Rochester, Kent to find out more about the plastics recycling process and the demand for polypropylene for recycling.
Attendees included members of the HTA Nursery Working Group, plant pot manufacturers and representatives from the charity RECOUP. RECOUP and the HTA are working together on a campaign to ensure Local Authorities accept non-black plant pots in their kerbside recycling schemes.
The visit allowed those businesses in the industry working with the taupe pot and other recycled / recyclable pots to see how the plastics recovery process worked and to track the journey of plastic through the waste stream and back into circulation.
Attendees included Farplants, Bransford Webbs, Allensmore, Aeroplas, Soparco and Popplemann.
The facility receives material from a variety of sources but mainly through MRFs (Materials Recovery Facilities) through the country and uses NIR scanners to identify the different plastic polymers and filters them out at each step, including Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET), High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), and Polypropylene (PP). – PP is the polymer used in the production of taupe plant pots.
Viridor, a founding signatory to the UK Plastics Pact, is committed to advising all sectors on how to ensure greater recyclability, helping the UK to choose recycled materials over virgin plastic and achieve its circular economy goals. The company is working with the HTA and the charity Recoup on trials to achieve greater plant pot recycling.
The company advised that the demand for non-black Polypropylene material is high and that the future inclusion of plant pots in all kerbside recycling schemes, in conjunction with Viridor’s local authority partners, could be a welcome development for them.
The day was organised by RECOUP, hosted by Viridor and supported by the HTA. The HTA would like to thank everyone involved for making the day so informative. The Nursery Working Group are planning on meeting again in the coming months to discuss the next stages of the work with local authorities and materials recovery facilities (or Multi re-use facilities), to increase the acceptance of plant pots at kerbside recycling.