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Increasing recycling capacity with £13M Washington investment

05 • March • 2021

Increasing recycling capacity with £13M Washington investment

Plastics recycling pioneer Biffa is doubling its high-density polyethene (HDPE) plastic recycling capacity with a new investment in its facility in Washington, Sunderland.

05 March 2021

Biffa increases recycling capacity with £13M Washington investment

Plastics recycling pioneer Biffa is increasing its high-density polyethene (HDPE) plastic recycling capacity by 50% with a new investment in its facility in Washington, Sunderland.

The £13 million investment will allow Biffa to recycle a further 14,000 tonnes of HDPE, a material that is commonly used for milk bottles, growing its total annual capacity to 39,000 tonnes – or 1.6bn bottles a year.

In addition, the investment will create 50 new jobs in the local area, building on Biffa’s established presence in the region where it already employs 115 people at Washington and its state of the art £27.5m plastics recycling facility at Seaham, which opened last year. Biffa currently also operates an HDPE facility at Redcar which employees a further 140 people.

The expansion is the latest in a series of significant strategic investments made by the Group as part of its commitment to building a circular economy. In the last five years Biffa has invested over £54.5m in plastics recycling infrastructure with plans to quadruple its plastic recycling capacity by 2030. The new investment will take Biffa’s overall plastic recycling capacity to 155,000 tonnes each year.

The extended capacity of HDPE recycling will benefit packaging producers in the UK, who from 2022 will be required to use at least 30% recycled plastic in their products to avoid the new plastic packaging tax. It is estimated an extra 36,000 tonnes of recycled HDPE will be needed to meet demand.

Mick Davis, Chief Operating Officer for Biffa’s Resources and Energy Division, said: “This investment in Washington is another example of Biffa on-shoring recycling capacity in our strategic journey to creating closed loop recycling in the UK. We look forward to being able to offer UK manufacturers more high-quality recycled plastics and help prevent the export of plastics for reprocessing.

“We have a strong and growing presence in the North East of England, a region which is playing a leading role in the UK’s green industrial revolution and we are delighted to be creating a further 50 new jobs as part of these plans.” 


Notes to Editors

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About Biffa

Biffa has been at the forefront of the UK’s waste industry for over a hundred years, with operations that span the entire breadth of the waste management process including collection, recycling, treatment, disposal and energy generation. We exist to change the way people think about waste; to help people see the opportunities that exist when we manage our waste in the right way, and to make that happen. We understand the vital role we must play in helping the UK to address the climate emergency and deliver sustainable growth. This involves an ambitious investment programme in green economy infrastructure and low carbon collections, alongside an ongoing commitment to sector leadership in the health, safety and wellbeing of our people. Biffa is a Great British company. In FY20, the Group's total revenue was £1,102.8m and its Underlying EBITDA was £174.0m. We have been listed on the London Stock Exchange since October 2016 under the ticker "BIFF". In March 2020, Biffa entered the FTSE-250.

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